I continue to be surprised by those that believe in performance evaluations in a work environment. I have listened to the rhetoric about how they are critical to an organization’s success for decades. As I think about outcomes, I cannot remember any team or group that performed differently because of the quality or quantity of performance reviews.
A few years ago a colleague gave me a book that reinforced the reasons why performance reviews do not work. At the center of his premise was two points. The first had to do with the motive of the person giving the review. The receiver rarely trusted that the motivation was for her or his best interests! The second had to do with the feeling that the receiver had when the review was complete. If there was a bad feeling, the natural response is to dismiss the accuracy and authenticity. If it was good, one naturally wondered why. A review in the middle was not safe either; expectations always run high.
Life keep reminding me that much of what happens in your life and mine is out of our control. When it feels bad, we want to blame others or explain it away. When it feels good, obviously we had something to do with it. Most of the time life is a mix of good, bad, and indifference.
My natural tendency is to think of God as a person conducting a review 24×7. In a state of constant judgment, guilt likes to haunt at every corner. David reminds me that God’s review has a different starting point. Acceptance is the foundation; “He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.” (Psalm 37.6)
In acceptance I find hope. In hope I see change. In change everything has the potential to be better. It is too bad that performance reviews do not have the same premise. If they did, anything is possible. Life keeps reminding me that I am reviewing and evaluating daily. Everything does not have to be as it was.