Practice the ‘puppy theory’

The HR Fishbowl wrote an interesting piece titled, “Annual Reviews…Who Needs Them?”  It explores the perspective shared by Carol Bartz in a New York Times article regarding annual performance reviews and her general dislike for them.

I have the puppy theory. When the puppy pees on the carpet, you say something right then because you don’t say six months later, “Remember that day, January 12th, when you peed on the carpet?” That doesn’t make any sense. “This is what’s on my mind. This is quick feedback.” And then I’m on to the next thing.

If I had my way I wouldn’t do annual reviews, if I felt that everybody would be more honest about positive and negative feedback along the way. I think the annual review process is so antiquated. I almost would rather ask each employee to tell us if they’ve had a meaningful conversation with their manager this quarter. Yes or no. And if they say no, they ought to have one. I don’t even need to know what it is. But if you viewed it as meaningful, then that’s all that counts.

Its an interesting perspective on the importance of feedback and the inefficiency of the annual performance review.  Perhaps its time not just to review your annual reviews, but the communication between managers and their staff.

2 thoughts on “Practice the ‘puppy theory’”

  1. I couldn’t agree more with the importance of immediate feedback, both positive and negative.

    In order for feedback to have any meaning, it must be immediate and specific. Simply saying “good job” does not tell the person what actions you want them to repeat (or not repeat) and why. Instead to increase the chances of having more “meaningful conversations” with your employees try making your feedback specific by re-stating the situation and the action the individual took (how they handled the situation) and the result of their actions (what changed for the better because of the individuals actions or state the role they played in helping achieve the result). If providing developmental feedback, let the individual know what they did that was ineffective and what they could have done differently to obtain a better result.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with the importance of immediate feedback, both positive and negative.

    In order for feedback to have any meaning, it must be immediate and specific. Simply saying “good job” does not tell the person what actions you want them to repeat (or not repeat) and why. Instead to increase the chances of having more “meaningful conversations” with your employees try making your feedback specific by re-stating the situation and the action the individual took (how they handled the situation) and the result of their actions (what changed for the better because of the individuals actions or state the role they played in helping achieve the result). If providing developmental feedback, let the individual know what they did that was ineffective and what they could have done differently to obtain a better result.

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