Assessing values in the annual performance review

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One of my professors on my MBA was very concerned by managerialsm.  He had an ingrained suspicion of managers dictating what people should do.  He was scathing  on the topic of managers driving people’s behaviours.  I always suspected that he saw much of what happened in business as a necessary evil.

One interesting area is the assessment of values during a perfomance appraisal – is the individual exhibiting the desired behaviours of the organisation?  The managerialistic concern is that the organisation is trying to impose its behaviours on its people.  Some indentikit indivual is turned out with individualism frowned upon and positively discouraged.

In theory I share the concern.  Diversity is beneficial both as a public good and to an organisation.  Identikit thinking leads to mediocrity.  That said, most organisations espouse a set of values that most people can sign up to.  So, as part of the performance appraisal session it strikes me as a reasonable topic of conversation.  Indeed, should a manger feel that an employee is actiing in a manner that is outside of the values or is causing problems for others due to their behaviour then it is incumbent on them to raise the issue.  The trick is to ensure the values are not a straight jacket.

At an organisation level it is useful to know where the values are less embedded than elsewhere.  Training courses around values when done properly can ensure that the appropriate culture for that industry and this organisation are developed.

So, while I shared some of my former professor’s concerns, my practical experience with performance reviews is that including a values section is useful for all concerned.

Brendan

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