Last week I wrote about Rethinking, how we might want and need to revise our approaches, and showed a few examples of folks thinking out of the box and upending our cherished viewpoints. I discovered another one (much closer to ‘home’) and tweeted it out, only to get a pointer to another. I think it’s worth looking at these two examples that help make the point that maybe it’s time for a rethink of some of our cherished beliefs and practices.
The first was a pointer from a conversation I had with the proprietor of an organization with a new mobile-based coaching engine. Among the things touted was that much of our thinking about feedback appears to be wrong. I was given a reference and found an article that indeed upends our beliefs about the benefits of feedback.
The article investigates performance reviews, and finds them lacking, citing one study that found:
“a meta-analysis of 607 studies of performance evaluations and concluded that at least 30% of the performance reviews ended up in decreased employee performance.”
30% decrease performance? And that’s not including the others that are just neutral. That’s a pretty bad outcome! Worse, the Society for Human Resource Management is cited as stating “90% of performance appraisals are painful and don’t work“. In short, one of the most common performance instruments is flawed.
As a consequence of tweeting this out, a respondent pointed to another article that he was reminded of. This one upends the notion that we’re good at rating others’ behavior: “research has demonstrated that each of us is a disturbingly unreliable rater of other people’s performance”. That is, 360 degree reviews, manager reviews, etc., are fundamentally based upon review by others, and they’re demonstrably bad at it. The responses given have reliable biases that makes the data invalid.
As a consequence, again, we cannot continue as we are:
“we must first stop, take stock, and admit to ourselves that the systems we currently use to reveal our people only obscure them”
This is just like learning styles: there’s no reliable data that it works, and the measurement instrument used is flawed. In short, one of the primary tools for organizational improvement is fundamentally broken. We’re using industrial age tools in an information age.
What’s a company to do? The first article quoted Josh Bersin when saying “companies need to focus very heavily on ‘collaboration, professional development, coaching and empowering people to do great things’“. This is the message of the Internet Time Alliance and an outflow of the Coherent Organization model and the L&D Revolution. There are alternatives that are more respectful of how people really think, work, and learn, and consequently more effective. Are you ready to rethink?