Airplanes seem to be a great place to write blog posts. I’m writing this one as I fly to California to meet with partners from Haeger, Inc. Folks are flying in from Netherlands and China to meet together in Oakdale and work on processes and OGTE!. I am really looking forward to the first face to face meeting of the Haeger Community Exceleration!Team: Sally Chen, Gena Beck, and I are the Haeger CE!T, and we have only met via Skype so far.
The latest innovation in OGTE!, our proprietary performance management system, is the posting of regular evaluations. Our culture resists traditional performance evaluations because we feel that leaders and their partners should be in continual dialogue to the extent that a formal, uncomfortable annual meeting should be unnecessary. Our belief in the power of learning by taking on seemingly impossible goals also makes traditional performance reviews problematic. How do you rate someone who has taken on a heroic challenge, who accomplishes a great deal, but who may fall short? If someone hits every goal, were the goals audacious enough?
We have tussled with this built-in contradiction for some time, and have arrived at a solution for now by focusing on the quality of planning, thinking, and executing against the plan. With the first deadline being March 31, leaders will have a performance dialogue with their partners three times a year to answer the following questions:
Q1. Quality of Thinking
Given the way this partner is thinking, planning and reflecting where on the path are they to becoming the performer described in their Role Description?
Q2. Quality of Results
Is this partner on the path towards increasing know-how and improving results?
The partners and leaders will arrive at a conclusion, and write an explanation based on the following 4-point scale:
The Evaluation Scale for both questions are:
Level 1: In comfort zone – business as usual (not improving)
Level 2: Improvement pace uneven
Level 3: On the path of rapid improvement
Level 4: Is a Virtuoso — both a master at his/her craft and irrevocably on the path of improvement
My hunch is that very few if any Phillips Corporation partners are 1’s, but let’s take a look at 2. The scale reminds me of another one I helped with at a prior employer. One of the ratings on that scale was “meets expectations”. This sounds a lot like a “C” grade in school. Not bad, but not great. But what if the expectations are extremely high? Then “meets expectations” is really more like an “A+”.
My thinking about “2: Improvement pace uneven” is similar. Really fine performers will have up and down days. I will forget to use the new process, get stuck in an old habit, or get distracted by the many other tasks that need to be done but that don’t necessarily address my priorities. I will still accomplish a whole heck of a lot. Does that make me a 2? If so, then 2 is a very good rating. “3: On the path to rapid improvement” is probably a mark that will be met only rarely.
One challenge as we experiment with this new scale is that we are mostly all used to a 4-point scale from school, where a 2 is “average”. I would like two things from the partners using this format this month:
1. Forget about the old “ABCDF” grades, and read what the ratings actually mean.
2. Let us know how it goes as you get your head around the concept and have performance dialogues with your partners.
Would also love to hear from readers who are not Phillips partners. What do you think of this approach? Is it “new”, or just new to us? Upsides? Downsides?
Thanks — Bill