The Performance Feedback Puzzle

PuzzleImagine trying to assemble a puzzle when:

The image of what the completed puzzle should look like is incomplete and hazy

You get different pieces at varying times during the year, some of which don’t seem to be related to the others, or to the picture itself

Major pieces are missing

And the instructions are often verbal, incomplete and subject to frequent change

In some organizations, people are provided with lots of varied feedback, including 360’s, performance reviews and engagement surveys. Unfortunately, it is often delivered as somewhat abstract info, often without a direct connection to individual or organizational goals, or to the individual’s career development.

I’ve been told by some leaders that people don’t really want feedback – or they don’t know what to do with it. Yet, the feedback from virtually every one of my performance consulting and leadership coaching clients* is that they love the feedback they get as a result of the front-end assessment process.

What’s the difference?

It’s a holistic, integrated process that includes in-depth personal interviews, custom 360’s and personality profiles. The result is:

– objective and specific feedback

– gap analysis and development recommendations, using data from both internal and external sources, and within the context of the expectations of the organization, role and goals, and the individual’s behavioral wiring and career goals.

This becomes the foundation [The Stage if you will] to facilitate action-planning and implementation with the individual, leader, and other stakeholders as appropriate.

This kind of feedback is crucial to charting the course, but it is the framework – not the solution. The real work is in facilitating the individual and/or team in learning how to move toward their individual development goals while resolving conflicts, defining and measuring performance, getting the resources they need, and holding themselves and each other accountable for business results.

While the goals never include words like satisfied or happy, at the end of the day, most people are fulfilled, much happier with their work, and proud of their accomplishments, and energized – because most people yearn for clear goals, authentic feedback, challenges and learning opportunities. Job satisfaction and engagement skyrocket when those needs are met. Simple, right?

 * the primary exceptions are people whose self-awareness is not sufficient to own their development needs and fully engage in a leadership development process.

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