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Accenture Ends Annual Review (and Admits Earth Orbits the Sun), by Larry Apke

Stashed in: Steve Jobs, LinkedIn, Management

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Always hated performance appraisals! "The performance appraisal nourishes short-term performance, annihilates long-term planning, builds fear, demolishes teamwork, nourishes rivalry and politics… it leaves people bitter, crushed, bruised, battered, desolate, despondent, dejected, feeling inferior, some even depressed, unfit for work for weeks after receipt of rating, unable to comprehend why they are inferior. "

What is a better way to give people feedback? 1-1s?

The Washington Post article does not suggest what would be better:

I liked the Steve Jobs story in Larry Apke's writeup:

Steve Jobs was once asked how he learned to run a company in his early 20s since he had no formal business training. His answer sheds a great deal of light on why only 6% of fortune 500 companies have gotten rid of annual reviews and rankings though the evidence is overwhelming that they do not work.

You know, throughout the years in business I found something, which was I’d always ask why you do things. And the answers you invariably get are, “Oh, that’s just the way it’s done.” Nobody knows why they do what they do. Nobody thinks about things very deeply in business. – Steve Jobs – The Lost Interview

So, if Jobs was right, as I believe him to be, then a plausible explanation would be that even highly compensated CEOs are unable to properly ask the “why” of things or perhaps top-down control has led to a culture where why is not asked out of fear or complacency. 

I would guess the CEO of Accenture, since he is quoted in the article, was the decision maker of the “big move.” While he might think himself progressive since he is on the vanguard with respect to his peers, the more appropriate “why” to ask would be “why did it take so long?” and “why haven’t others made the change?” or maybe “which CEO will be next to admit that the world is indeed round?”

The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture begins this September. It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments. In the majority of the companies I worked, evaluation had been conducted in spring. By that time, whatever had happened the previous year had mostly faded in everybody's memory, so the grades you get were affected by most recent events/projects. It just made no sense - if there was a problem with my performance back in February of the previous year and I learned about it only in April of the current year, it means I could been doing things wrong all this time! At my last company, some engineers elected not to participate in the process at all forgoing the potential of 5% raise.

So it's not even monthly feedback but rather continual feedback? That sounds good. 

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