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Performance Reviews – A Good Idea Gone Wrong


If you’ve been watching any news of late you’ve seen several incidents where employees who have not received favorable performance reviews have gone off and actually murdered their peers or supervisors. If there’s an indictment against performance reviews or at least how they are being conducted this is a good example of it. 

The expert on this is Aubrey Daniels and his book Oops, 13 Management Practices That Waste Time and Money lists Performance Reviews as #3 on his list.   Performance reviews go against rule number three and four of Aubrey’s Making Performance Work errors to avoid [See Positive and Negative Reinforcement – Oops].

If there’s two things that have been consistent in my coaching training with Gazelles [Rockefeller Habits] and E-Myth is that performance reviews are not good tools for improving morale or getting better performance.

Aubrey Daniels quote sums up the lessons we teach in Gazelles coaching, “The best job you will ever have is one in which you know how well you have done at the end of every working day.”   

If you still believe in Performance Reviews ask yourself this question. What are you trying to accomplish?

Here are some keys to creating an organization where people do their best every day based on the value of positive reinforcement:

  • Knowledge of how you are doing is essential to any kind of improvement
  • The best feedback cycle is immediate
  • Every job can be measured and
  • Performers will help you measure them when they learn that measure is sued to help them perform better and not used as a basis for criticism and punishment.
  • The goal of this type of appraisal should be to have all employees performing in the top group.
  • Rewards for managers should be contingent on the number of performers reaching the top level, not some aggregate measure of the unit performance.
  • When manager success is determined by the employee success it changes the behavior of the manger from evaluator to coach. That creates more involvement in the day to day performance of employees by the manager.

All these points are from Aubrey Daniels book Oops. He points out that managers and supervisors should be teachers and coaches who job it is to transfer their knowledge and experience to others in an efficient and positive manner. It’s not to sit in judgment. 


Daniels challenged the idea of stretch goals in Oops.  Principles that are fundamentally correct find support in other sources. The book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard confirms Daniels is on target.  We’ll explore how in my next blog.  

Please provide your feedback and experience, good or bad, with performance reviews. I’m interested to discover whether or not you agree or disagree with these Daniels and his beliefs. 


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