A History of Performance Appraisals, Letting Go - REVELN


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This presentation provides a context for performance appraisals, ratings and reviews as very old ideas compared to organizational leadership pioneers and what's next. Performance management, defined in the 1970s, is rooted in scientific management. It is possible to acknowledge history, realize its impact on our business systems, and let go to embrace new strategies.

This presentation is additional context for my MISHRM 2013 presentation on "From Chaos to Creative: Performance Development in a VUCA World" in Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 8th, 2013 | 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

Tweets: @RevelnConsults

The full context is in this article on the www.REVELN.com blog:
A History of Performance Appraisals: Letting Go to Power New Culture
* http://reveln.com/a-history-of-performance-appraisals-letting-go-to-power-new-culture/

As well as:

* Choices for High Performance Teams, Groups and Psuedo-Teams: Achievement Is How You Say It!

* 3 Success Factors for High Performance Teams, and What Gets In the Way

* Beyond Resilience: Givers, Takers, Matchers and Anti-Fragile Systems


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  • Title Relief of a Tragedy MaskDate 1st century - 2nd century ADMedium sandstone (Montjuïc)Current location Archaeology Museum of Catalonia (Barcelona)Link back to Institution infobox templateAccession number 19020Notes From the Roman Walls
  • Robert Owen (1771-1858)New principles were also adopted by Robert Owen in raising the standard of goods produced. Above each machinist's workplace, a cube with different coloured faces was installed. Depending on the quality of the work and the amount produced, a different colour was used. The worker then had some indication to others of his work's quality. The employee had an interest in working to his best. Though not in itself a great incentive, the conditions at New Lanark for the workers and their families were idyllic for the time.New Lanark itself became a much frequented place of pilgrimage for social reformers, statesmen, and royal personages, including Nicholas, later emperor of Russia. According to the unanimous testimony of all who visited it, New Lanark appeared singularly good. The manners of the children, brought up under his system, were beautifully graceful, genial and unconstrained; health, plenty, and contentment prevailed; drunkenness was almost unknown; and illegitimacy was extremely rare. The relationship between Owen and his workers remained excellent, and all the operations of the mill proceeded with the utmost smoothness and regularity. The business was a great commercial success.Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Owen Robert Owen's ideas stemmed from his ownership of a cotton mill in New Lanark, Scotland where he developed a strong interest in the welfare of the 400 to 500 child employees. Owen spearheaded a legislative movement to limit child employment to those over the age of ten while reducing the workday to 10 1/2 hours. In 1813 Owen published a pamphlet, A New View of Society, where he described his vision of society. He also became active in improving living conditions of employees through the implementation of improvements in housing, sanitation, public works and establishing schools for the children. Owen strongly believes that character is a product of circumstances and that environment and early education is critical in forming good character. While being extremely controversial during his lifetime, Owen is credited with being the forerunner of the modern human relations school of management.
  • ProsViewed as a strict but fair manager who used a "silent monitor," a small cube of wood above each work station used to grade each day's behavior and effortDescribed as a savvy businessman who led the cotton mills and the New Lanark, Scotland village in becoming model community, 1800-1825Credited with being a to manufacturing and educational reformer, and the forerunner of the modern human relations school of management and systems thinkingEnded the pauper apprentice system at New Lanark. All children under the age of 10 had to go to schoolConsViews of his community building on the New Lanark model as a solution to contemporary evils are seen by some as masked capitalism with a conscienceSome critiqued his style as interfering and autocraticDetractors vilified him for openly criticizing religion was a source of evil in society rather than improvement (later he supported Spiritualism)His radical beliefs, at the time, included a belief that fault was not in the individual, but from the system in which the individual was trained. ultimately Owen’s New Harmony, Indiana planning community did not succeedPros:Major leader in systemic innovation, and challenged (condemned) management by objective, incentive systems, merit rankings, appraisal and command-and-control.credited with being the forerunner of the modern human relations school of management. Cons: Did not acknowledge the impact of conflict, politics and power/status within his ideology.
  • The Japanese have a tradition of revering ideas and being able to translate them into dynamic practice. Early management thinkers, such as Frederick Taylor and Mary Parker Follett, were widely acknowledged in Japan while receiving only tepid reactions in their home country. In contrast, ideas in the West tend to be seen as distractions and are categorized as instant solutions or as simply impractical. There is often an unwillingness to try to understand or to try and make them work. The requirements of the moment take precedence in a world beset by ever-increasing demands on time, energy, and money.
  • Pros: Credited for inventing the management profession and industrial efficiency. He searched for "one best way" around poor method vs. worker problems and spoke with passion about labor-management cooperation.Cons: Also the anti-hero, his methods, copied by management and consultants to this day, do not support labor-management cooperation.
  • Deming, the Anti-Taylor
  • near Utopian faith in the possibility of cooperative social systems and bottom-up power that is still a vital and often unrealistic influence in American management.
  • Pay for performance is effective for employees in operational roles, such as a painter painting houses or a salesman hitting quotas. But when it comes to employees responsible for finding creative solutions to problems, the model is ineffective, said Gustavo Manso, co-author of a 2012 study published in the July issue of Management Science....a straight pay-for-performance model does not have a tolerance for early failure, a component essential to innovation, said Manso, an associate professor of finance at the University of California at Berkeley.Innovation is a “trial and error process,” Manso said. “You have to try things that you don’t know if they’re going to work.”Who will volunteer to do what to help with the 6 day sale? Group of about 10, mostly Jazzercise instructors, some class managers.~ Jazzercise storyPay each instructor for whoever signs up for a 6 mo. or 12 mo. Membership.However, “we’re a team, we work as a team” vs. the “conversion” reward – I’d like us to split the rewards.Discussion: Yes, sometimes I talk to the prospective new member, and they join in someone else’s class. Sometimes it’s simply convenience and timing which instructor’s class they decide to attend and join, after someone else already talked to them about joining.“I mentioned doing this presentation, and that individual rewards can sometimes be competitive and, like rankings, cause problems.”That is so true, said a new instructor that just joined the team. Where I’m from, the center owner decided to give the commission to the instructor who signed up the new member and it, “completed demoralized the team.”(July 2013)For doing the extra work, however, I’d like to have some kind of incentive. I’m putting the extra time in. Not everyone can do that.<Translated: I want to be compensated.> Not the incentive, rather the fair compensation for the time put in.
  • Drucker, possessed a “near Utopian faith in the possibility of cooperative social systems and bottom-up power that is still a vital and often unrealistic influence in American management.” MBO’s--- a systemic view was required --and felt that Drucker's warning went largely unheeded by the practitioners of MBO. Source: Drucker, Peter, "Management Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices", Harper & Row, 1973POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FEEDBACK A second reason why change-oriented feedback may cause problems concerns the focus of the feedback. Although some writers emphasize that both positive and negative feedback can be given in a group context (Luthi, 1978; Solomon, 1977), the Schein and Bennis (1965) learning model clearly emphasizes that it is negative feedback that is disconfirming and causes unfreezing and the need for change to occur. Source: 214 ❘❚ The Pfeiffer Library Volume 6, 2nd Edition. Copyright ©1998 Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer
  • Glassdoor!!!Technology as an accelerator – Drowning in Data, thirsting for knowledge ~ Developments in I.T. and the impact on performance appraisalComputers have been playing an increasing role in PA for some time (Sulsky & Keown, 1998). There are two main aspects to this. The first is in relation to the electronic monitoring of performance, which affords the ability to record a huge amount of data on multiple dimensions of work performance (Stanton, 2000). Not only does it facilitate a more continuous and detailed collection of performance data in some jobs, e.g. call centres, but it has the capacity to do so in a non-obvious, covert manner. The second aspect is in mediating the feedback process, by recording and aggregating performance ratings and written observations and making the information available on-line; many software packages are available for this. The use of IT in these ways undoubtedly helps in making the appraisal process more manageable, especially where multiple rating sources are involved, but it also raises many questions about appraisees' reactions and possible effects on PA outcomes. Source: Fletcher, Clive. Performance appraisal and management: The developing research agenda. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 74 (Nov 2001): p.482
  • In light of the benefits of more open systems of helping, why don’t more organizations develop giver cultures? All too often, leaders create structures that get in the way. According to Cornell economist Robert Frank, many organizations are essentially winner-take-all markets, dominated by zero-sum competitions for rewards and promotions. When leaders implement forced-ranking systems to reward individual performance, they stack the deck against giver cultures.1Pitting employees against one another for resources makes it unwise for them to provide help unless they expect to receive at least as much—or more—in return. Employees who give discover the costs quickly: their productivity suffers as takers exploit them by monopolizing their time or even stealing their ideas. Over time, employees anticipate taking-behavior and protect themselves by operating like takers or by becoming matchers, who expect and seek reciprocity whenever they give help.Fortunately, it is possible to disrupt these cycles. My research suggests that committed leaders can turn things around through three practices: facilitating help-seeking, recognizing and rewarding givers, and screening out takers.Source: Adam Grant======❚❘ INTERPERSONAL FEEDBACK:PROBLEMS AND RECONCEPTUALIZATION Raymond V. Rasmussen A second reason why change-oriented feedback may cause problems concerns the focus of the feedback. Although some writers emphasize that both positive and negative feedback can be given in a group context (Luthi, 1978; Solomon, 1977), the Schein and Bennis (1965) learning model clearly emphasizes that it is negative feedback that is disconfirming and causes unfreezing and the need for change to occur. The emphasis on feeding back any negative information is strongly opposed by the behaviorists (Gambril, 1977; Luthans & Kreitner, 1975), who believe that the best way to create behavioral change is to focus on positive or desired behaviors and to ignore undesirable behaviors. In their view, negative feedback probably constitutes a punishing experience for most people and can lead to detrimental side effects (for example, anxiety, reduced performance, defensiveness, reprisal). The counseling literature takes a similar view. Berenson and Mitchell (1969) have distinguished five major types of confrontation, including “strength” confrontation, focused on the resources of the person being confronted, and “weakness” confrontation, focused on the pathology or liabilities of the person being confronted. Their research indicates that effective helpers use strength confrontations more frequently and weakness confrontations less frequently than ineffective helpers. Source:Originally published in The 1984 Annual: Developing Human Resources by J. William Pfeiffer and Leonard D. Goodstein (Eds.), San Diego, CA: Pfeiffer & Company. 212 ❘❚ The Pfeiffer Library Volume 6, 2nd Edition. Copyright ©1998 Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer
  • A History of Performance Appraisals, Letting Go - REVELN

    1. 1. A History of Performance Appraisal & Letting Go Deborah Nystrom REVELN.com
    2. 2. “The Imperial Rater of Nine Grade seldom rates men according to their merits, but always according to his likes and dislikes. ~ Chinese philosopher Sin Yu, 3rd century”
    3. 3. “Of course quality is important, but is it not the quality of an individual's originality that is most important?” ~ Robert Owen 1771-1858 Robert Owen from the Samuels Collection, Duke University
    4. 4. Perspective  Implemented a "silent monitor," a small cube of wood above each work station used to grade each day's behavior and effort  Seen as a manufacturing and educational reformer, as well as a labor movement leader  Influential in the modern human relations school of management and systems thinking, as well as the worldwide consumers’ cooperative movement Counterpoint  Built as a solution to contemporary evils, his community in New Lanark, Scotland, was viewed by some as masked capitalism with a conscience  Through Americans embraced him in spite of his differing religious views, ultimately his New Harmony, Indiana planned community did not succeed Deb Nystrom, REVELN.com
    5. 5. Selections from the Infographic by WorkSimple.com
    6. 6. “Each employee should receive every day clear-cut, definite instructions to just what he is to do and how he is to do it, and these instructions should be exactly carried out, whether they are right or wrong.” ~ Frederick W. Taylor 1856 – 1915
    7. 7. Perspective  Credited for inventing the management profession and industrial efficiency  Searched for "one best way" around poor methods rather than worker problems  Spoke with passion about labor-management cooperation Counterpoint  His command and control methods (monitor and assess for efficiency) continue to influence mechanistic aspects of performance management today  Taylor’s concept of “thinkers” and “doers” for the division of work did not support the labor and management partnerships he favored, creating battles over jobs that continues today Deb Nystrom, REVELN.com
    8. 8. Selections from the Infographic by WorkSimple.com
    9. 9. “Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, not absorbed.” ~ Mary Parker Follett 1868-1933
    10. 10. Perspective  Admonished over- managing employees,or “bossism,” now known as micromanaging  Pioneered the idea of the "authority of expertise"  Offered insights into the nature of leadership, conflict and the spiritual possibilities of corporate life still relevant today  Succeeded as a management consultant in spite of great obstacles Counterpoint  Has been seen as overly optimistic about overcoming the limitations of management power  Her human relations contributions were advanced, and greatly limited by her gender and time period Deb Nystrom, REVELN.com
    11. 11. Selections from the Infographic by WorkSimple.com
    12. 12. “94% of problems in business are systems driven and only 6% are people driven.” ~ W. Edwards Deming 1900 – 1993 Deb Nystrom, REVELN.com
    13. 13. Perspective  Listed "evaluation of performance, merit rating and annual review" as one of the“seven deadly diseases affecting management”  Credited as major leader of the quality movement internationally  His teachings were primary drivers of the 2000 book, Abolishing Appraisals advocating team and whole system performance approaches Counterpoint  Had a utopian tendency to deny conflict and the role of management power in developing cooperative social systems  Did not speak to worker involvement existing with Japan's rigid, powerful management hierarchy, similar to Taylor's scientific management
    14. 14. ‘70 & 80’s Behaviors Goals Timelines Results “Performance Management” Process Selections from the Infographic by WorkSimple.com
    15. 15. “I am arguing against…confusing compensation with reward, the latter being unnecessary and counterproductive.” ~ Alfie Kohn, Social scientist and author of Punished by Rewards 15 Photo by 401(K), Flickr cc
    16. 16. “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” ~ Peter Drucker 1909 – 2005
    17. 17. Perspective  Exposed workplace human relations artificiality and paternalism, refocusing on "what the job demands" through his collaborative "Management by Objectives" (MBOs) process.  Served as a reknown social critic of corporations and a practical teacher of management, informed by his in-depth studies at General Motors  Shared management teaching for six decades including concepts of empowerment and the knowledge worker Counterpoint  His long-running performance tool, MBOs, was widely adopted and criticized  Became disillusioned with the power & greed of the management “caste” later in life (his philanthropic support of non-profits as management pioneers was toward a vision of morally legitimate post-business society)
    18. 18. Digital performance review forms clarify persistent problems Digital Data & Performance Selections from the Infographic by WorkSimple.com
    19. 19. “I predict that by the end of this decade, the performance appraisal system as we know it will no longer exist. Beat the competition to the punch. Change yours now.” ~ Aubrey Daniels, July 2013 Performance Management & Behavior Specialist 19
    20. 20. “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” ~ Hermann Hesse Photo by Mr. T in DC , Flickr cc
    21. 21. End Individual Performance Appraisal  If there is little benefit, and it’s legally not required, why continue?  Reinforcement, rewards, behaviorism, doesn’t work, is counterproductive  Most serious scholars have rejected behaviorism  Use gain & profit sharing and team / person-based compensation approaches Increase Focus on Teams  Provide easy access to data, team results, at all levels, to inspire  Establish shared accountability to managers AND to all team members  Encourage agility, creativity, innovation, and adaptation to market forces  Grow a giving - receiving, learning culture  Share authority among team members, with an achievement focus  Use positive peer pressure, rather than individual, manager-led performance appraisals  Increase fun, frequent, informal communication at w ork Ref: Beta Codex Performance Management, White Paper 10 Deb Nystrom, REVELN.com
    22. 22. “Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring.” ~ Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 Photo by dirkjanranzijn, Flickr cc
    23. 23.  History infographic clips by WorkSimple.com  http://getworksimple.com/blog/2011/11/04/the-history-of- performance-reviews  Book references includeFalse Prophets: The Gurus Who Created Modern Management And Why Their Ideas Are Bad For Business Today, by James Hoopes (2003)  Slide 1 emperor photo by hslo, Flickr cc, other photos from WikiCommons, Flickr Creative Commons, Duke University and other public domain websites Visit Deb at www.REVELN.com