How to give performance appraisals

Alexander Garrett Monday, 01 September 2014 .MANAGEMENT  TODAY

A junior member of your team has just sobbed out of her annual review. So how could you approach this appraisal business better? Here’s a crash course.


Does the cap fit? Research has shown that conventional appraisals work best for jobs where performance and its measurement are quite simple, says Monica Franco-Santos, senior research fellow at Cranfield School of Management. ‘When the role is more complex, like most managerial jobs where it is the performance of the team that matters, it works less well and you should rely more upon other approaches.’

Scope it. Appraisals have broadened from being a review of the individual’s performance to include business objectives, career ambitions, development goals and general wellbeing, says Franco-Santos. Cover these issues in separate meetings so the focus is not lost, she suggests.

Once is not enough. Performance should be discussed and feedback given much more frequently than once a year. Franco-Santos advocates a ‘continuous conversation’. Stuart Hyland, reward strategy specialist at Hay Group, says: ‘If people are surprised by your feedback, they’ll ask why you didn’t tell them earlier.’

Do your homework. ‘Too often a secretary hands the manager the individual’s file as he or she walks through the door,’ Hyland says. ‘Failure to prepare on both sides means you won’t explore the depth of opportunities available.’

Step forward. Appraisals should be carried out by the immediate boss, says Ian Gooden, chief executive of HR consultancy Chiumento. ‘That’s the person who is best positioned to judge how well someone is doing,’ says Gooden. ‘But talk to others to get a rounded view.’

Find the right pitch. Before you stick in the knife, consider how your assessment will be received. ‘Consider what will work best,’ says Gooden. ‘For some people, the mildest criticism will have them reaching for the tissues, while others can have the skin of a rhinoceros.’ A ‘praise sandwich’ in which you offer praise, followed by constructive criticism, then more praise, is one favoured formula.

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Check out the take-out. Tangible outputs from an appraisal might include a performance rating, a new set of goals or a plan to bridge the performance gap. ‘To be sure that there is clarity on both sides, ask your employee to write a note summarising what you discussed and what you agreed to do,’ says Gooden. Whatever you do, don’t file it away to gather dust.

Do say: ‘Let’s reflect on all the performance discussions we have had in the past 12 months’

Don’t say: ‘You’ve been rubbish and you’re not getting a pay rise’











Sony Founder,Akio Morita’s Advice on success

 Joel Brown | April 12, 2013

akio morita Sony

Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony “Akio Morita” was an innovator of high quality electronics, selling billions in revenue around the world. Akio Morita’s business strength was in his ability to understand both Western and Eastern cultures and combine the best of both worlds to globalize Sony as a household name.

In 1966, Morita wrote a book called Gakureki Muyō Ron, which meansNever Mind School Records“, where Akio stresses that school records are not important to success or one’s business skills.

So what skills are important for achieving success? Akio Morita shares his advice for breaking down barriers in the business world.

Akio Morita’s Success Advice

Why Akio Morita Believes Sony Succeeded:

Morita with sony Camera

1. “I established the rule that once we hire an employee, his schools records are a matter of the past, and are no longer used to evaluate his work or decide on his promotion.”

2. “My solution to the problem of unleashing creativity is always to set up a target.”

3. “I believe one of the reasons we went through such a remarkable growth period was that we had this atmosphere of free discussion. A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.”

4. “I have always made it a point to know our employees, to visit every facility of our company, and to try to meet and know every single employee.”

5. “The company must not throw money away on huge bonuses for executives or other frivolities but must share its fate with the workers.”

Akio Morita’s Business Advice:

Akio Morita

1. “Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times.”

2. “From a management standpoint, it is very important to know how to unleash people’s inborn creativity. My concept is that anybody has creative ability, but very few people know how to use it.”

3. “I believe people work for satisfaction. I believe it is a big mistake to think that money is the only way to compensate a person for his work. People need money, but they also want to be happy in their work and proud of it.”

4. “There is no secret ingredient or hidden formula responsible for the success of the best Japanese companies.”

5. “There are three creativities: creativity in technology, in product planning, and in marketing. To have any one of these without the others is self defeating in business.”

On Being Humble:

If you go through life convinced that your way is always best, all the new ideas in the world will pass you by.

Thoughts On Innovation:

Carefully watch how people live, get an intuitive sense as to what they might want and then go with it. Don’t do market research. I knew we needed a weapon to break through to the U.S. market, and it had to be something different, something that nobody else was making.

Do’s & Don’ts:

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Thoughts On Success:

We all learn by imitating, as children, as students, as novices in the world of business. And then we grow up and learn to blend our innate abilities with the rules or principles we have learned.

Akio Morita’s Final Years

akio morita success

On November 25, 1994, Morita stepped down as Sony chairman after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while playing tennis. He was succeeded by Norio Ohga, who had joined the company in the 1950s after sending Akio Morita a letter denouncing the poor quality of the company’s tape recorders. Instead of taking offense, Akio saw a talent in Norio and decided to hire him for his honesty and keen eye for improvement.

On October 3, 1999, Morita died of pneumonia at the age of 78.

Although Akio is no longer with us, his story and his knowledge of transforming the business world still lives on.


The Psychopath in the C-Suite

 Nicholas Bray | INSEAD  Knowledge |            February 7, 2013

Corporate genius or psychopath? It’s a thin line that divides them. Most people who work in companies run afoul of such a person at least once during their career. Some rise to astonishing heights, and they can cause enormous damage.  Dealing with them can be tricky, but here are some tips.

In Costa-Gavras’s film Le Capital, an unscrupulous banker sends his bank’s shares crashing in an insider-trading scam. Does he get fired? Not a bit of it! An adulating board re-confirms him as chairman, applauding him as he pledges to go on stealing from the poor to enrich the wealthy.

Sounds preposterous? Well, the movie is indeed a bit over the top. But real life often comes close to imitating fiction. From Enron to the LIBOR interest-rate fixing scandal that saw the demise last July of Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, corporate annals are packed with individuals whose sense of what’s right and what’s wrong differs starkly from that of most ordinary people.

Some walk off with hefty bonuses. A few end up in jail. Others poison the workplace long-term, putting the health of both companies and their staff at risk.

In an article entitled “The Psychopath in the C Suite”, Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD’s Raoul de Vitry d’Avaucourt Chaired Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Organisational Change defines a type of personality that he calls SOB, for Seductive Operational Bully. Without going so far as to commit murder or arson, but unburdened by the pangs of conscience that moderate most people’s interactions with others, such people qualify, he argues, for the label of “psychopath lite”.

No sense of shame

“SOBs can be found wherever power, status, or money is at stake,” he writes. “Outwardly normal, apparently successful and charming, their inner lack of empathy, shame, guilt, or remorse, has serious interpersonal repercussions, and can destroy organisations.”

For their own self-preservation, companies should do more to guard against them, either by identifying them and weeding them out or by avoiding hiring them in the first place, Kets de Vries told INSEAD Knowledge in an interview. “To have an SOB in your company can be very costly.”

Greed, ambition and selfish disregard for others are nothing new in business. Bob Sutton, a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University, has been writing for years about corporate types that he calls assholes. “Based on what I’ve seen in law firms, corporate America, and Silicon Valley start-ups,” he observed in a 2007 interview with Inc. magazine, “there’s no danger that companies are going to stop hiring assholes.” Nearly six years later, he is still busy analysing the bad behaviour of American executives and advising on how to deal with their excesses.

While typical assholes are difficult to ignore, however, Kets de Vries’ SOBs can be hard to spot, due to their manipulative personalities.

“Ironically,” he observes, “many of the qualities that indicate mental problems in other contexts may appear appropriate in senior executive positions.” That is particularly the case, he says, in “organisations that appreciate impression management, corporate gamesmanship, risk taking, coolness under pressure, domination, competitiveness, and assertiveness.” SOBs have no sense of conscience or of loyalty to their colleagues or their organisation, Kets de Vries explains in his paper. Kets de Vries is also a psychoanalyst and has been a member of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Institute since 1982. They often do long-term damage to both through their deceitful, abusive, and sometimes fraudulent behaviour. Because of the way they operate, however, they are often “hidden in plain sight”.

Emotional poverty

Exactly what makes a psychopath is still open to discussion. According Kets de Vries, both inherited factors and upbringing can lead to psychopathic tendencies, and those of the ‘lite’ variety often gravitate towards business.  “Estimates vary, but approximately 3.9 percent of corporate professionals can be described as having psychopathic tendencies,” he asserts.

Even traits that reflect a severe lack of human feeling or emotional poverty, such as a lack of remorse, guilt, and empathy, can be used to advantage by SOBs. They shine in situations that call for “tough” and unpopular decisions such as to lay off staff. The financial sector has become a playground for such people, says Kets de Vries, because “that’s where the money is.”

So what can be done to prevent such people can causing havoc? Ideally, says Kets de Vries, organisations should fine-tune their recruitment procedures in order to avoid hiring them in the first place. To help managers recognise them, Kets de Vries sets out a checklist of clues.

Does the person come across as too glib and too charming? Is he or she very self-centred? Lacking in empathy? Sexually promiscuous? Able to lie? If the answer is yes to more than a few such questions – and the list goes on– then the chances, says Kets de Vries, are that you are dealing with an SOB.

Some lines of defence

If you haven’t yet hired the person, there is still time to avoid trouble. Take a closer look at the résumé and scrutinise it for inconsistencies. Try putting the candidate through multiple interviews. SOBs have a tendency to tell interviewers what they think they want to hear, and different interviewers can elicit different, sometimes contradictory, responses.

If a candidate is fawning to a senior interviewer but condescending to someone more junior, he or she should be watched carefully. Such behaviour, says Kets de Vries, corresponds exactly to what you should expect from a psychopath “lite”.

But what if the SOB is already on your staff? The best line of defence then, says Kets de Vries, is “a coaching culture where trust and openness prevail and where people can speak their mind.”

First of all, you need to identify the SOB. Watch out for behavioural clues. If you see talented people leaving a project or a company, find out why. They may have been driven away by bullying or other kinds of misbehaviour of which you are not aware.

Then you need to take corrective action. To ensure accountability, try introducing key performance indicators clearly tied to outcomes. Psychopaths typically don’t like to be called to account.

Encourage team work, as that’s something that psychopaths don’t feel comfortable with. And take steps to develop a culture in which junior employees can feel able to express concerns about their colleagues and superiors without fears of recrimination.

Finally, if you are so unfortunate as to have an SOB as your boss or even as CEO of the company, recognise that you are unlikely to be able to get him or her to change. Trying to oust the SOB is likely to be difficult and attempts to do so might jeopardise your own career.

His advice? Don’t stick around. “Cut your losses, preserve your self-esteem, and move on.”

A guide to bad bosses

 MANAGEMENT TODAY.01 January 2013

Bosses come in every shape and size. There are, however, some who remain beyond the help of training or advice and will be forever awful. Here’s a guide from cult illustrators Modern Toss on how to spot the managers to avoid.

1. The Narcissist Boss

You can spot the Narcissist Boss when you attend his industry event and he’s booked his own indie band to headline. Of course, you should have guessed when you encountered a company simply named Shaun, which had a silhouette of Shaun’s own head as a logo. Here even the slightest company achievement is seen as further evidence of the value of Shauning. Company colleagues, or ‘Baby Shauns’ as they’re officially known, must crank up for work every morning by singing the Shaun song. It may be a nightmare for everyone but Shaun, but such desperate self-promotion does have one positive: a business achieves an enviable sense of togetherness when everyone, from the postroom to the boardroom, thinks Shaun is a dick.

2. The Wimp Boss

The Wimp Boss is endearing at first, as he bumbles his way through the introduction to how the place works. But it’s not just eye contact he’s avoiding: the Wimp Boss will also go as far as is humanly possible to duck from reality or censure. That’s why he’s still using the hole-punch as a puppet while the sales figures fall off the chart. And when the office is repossessed and he’s operating instead from his mum’s lounge in a vest and pair of jogging bottoms and still calling himself a company – and his poor PA is stuck sorting his Snickers receipts two days a week in order to feed her kids – she’ll realise she should have quit while she still had a desk.

3. The Burnout Boss

Why is everyone still at their PC at 9pm? Thank the guilt that comes with working for the Burnout Boss, who’ll be there past midnight. Presumably, they’re helping assuage his own disappointment for never making it past county tennis, despite all those hours of serving practice he was forced into. The enemy of the Burnout Boss is the Christmas break: stripped of work, his fists clench as he sits staring uncomprehending at the smiley shapes on the TV, a faint internal cry of ‘mummy’ crushed under a towering lists of tasks that he’s been banned from tackling. The Burnout Boss is on the board by 15, retired at 21, and dead by 30. Too right: the quicker we get life crossed off the to-do list, the sooner we can get to winning in the afterlife.

4.The Bully Boss

The law of the playground states that the bullied will become the bully. But it doesn’t end there, as the Bully Boss has gone on to live a life of escalating tyranny and been richly rewarded: from climbing on her mates to her first promotion, to stripping other people’s assets – whether that’s tearing companies apart or snatching wedding rings from weeping execs in late-night poker bouts. Now the Bully Boss lords it over a department of subjugated souls, following them on a bank of CCTV screens as they scurry past her office door, humming the Weakest Link theme while she awaits Dressing-Down Friday. What she doesn’t know is that her nemesis, the Bully Chairman, just got out of the lift on her floor…

5. The Territorial Boss

The Territorial Boss measures success in square-footage, so don’t dream of entering his office without knocking. Never mind that it’s a Portakabin in the car park – he’s sweated for this. The plans on the desk aren’t for the company when he becomes CEO, they’re for where he’s going to stick his fish tank when he gets the job. For now though he’s got his Portakabin. And his shelf in the fridge. And his stapler. And his chair. And his parking space. All are duly marked. But this possessiveness extends to people too, and becoming his friend may have its benefits. But when he finally gives you a go in his chair, late at night, and proceeds to subject you to brutal tales of his divorce, you know you’re only one step from having his name Tippexed on your face.

Quality and Safety Are Cited Among Top Concerns of Manufacturers and Consumers

By 20, 2012


Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety and science company, released its annual study called The Product Mindset, which examines manufacturer and consumer perceptions about how products are made, sold, bought and consumed. For the study, 1,201 consumers and 1,202 manufacturers in China, Germany, India and the United States were interviewed across an array of topics related to safety, performance, innovation and sustainability.

Some key findings include:

  • – over three-fourths (76 percent) of manufacturers in U.S., China, India, Germany say global sourcing improves product quality.
  • – 75 percent of manufacturers in these same countries think consumers are growing more concerned about the ethical and fair treatment of workers at all levels of the supply chain
  • – 59 percent of consumers in the four countries say manufacturers value sales more than product safety

In addition, the study found that consumers have a more nuanced understanding of safety-related issues. Food safety and the safety of home-building materials are of more concern to consumers than the safety of high-tech consumer electronics or smart appliances. Foodborne illness and chemical additives are the top concerns for food safety; toxin emissions are the top safety concern for home building materials; online security is the top issue for high tech electronics; and malfunctions are the top safety concerns for smart appliances.

Certainty is being demanded by both manufacturers and consumers, and this certainty is being delivered through quality. Over the next 2-3 years, manufacturers site quality as having the biggest impact on their ability to compete by a margin of 2 to 1. In 2011, innovation was ranked highest (though quality was not a choice last year.) Quality is the #1 reason consumers select the products they buy across all product categories (versus other options such as cost, features, brand name, and design.) 91% of manufacturers believe that performance testing is becoming more important.

Across categories and regions, safety continues to be a crucial consideration for both manufactures and consumers. This year’s prevailing uncertainty and instability may have made safety a more important consideration as a way to counter fear, ambiguity and anxiety.

  • · 73% of manufacturers strongly agree that product safety is becoming more important, and 82% strongly agree that product safety impacts their ability to compete.
  • 89% of manufacturers agree that consumers are becoming more aware and better educated; 87% that government regulations are becoming more stringent; 87% that consumer confidence in product safety is increasing; and 83% that consumers are requesting more safety information.
  • Only 36% of consumers strongly believe that manufacturers conduct thorough enough product safety testing before introducing new products to the market.
  • 59% of consumers agree overall that manufacturers value sales more than product safety.
  • Environmental focus, depicted last year as more desired than imperative, has moved forward. While the environment has not supplanted product quality or safety as a fundamental consideration, it has progressed as a fundamental consideration. Both manufacturers and consumers seem more sophisticated about their thinking related to the environment and are more aware of its importance.
  • Between 80-90% of manufacturers agree that sustainability-related factors are essential to the success of their business (Chinese and Indian manufactures more so than those in Germany and the US).
  • 53% of manufacturers site that consumers are demanding more eco-friendly products at the same cost as non-eco-friendly products.
  • More than half of consumers in India and China are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products; while only 37% and 33% in the US and Germany respectively, are willing to pay more.

The Essential Supply Chain

  • Manufacturers are focusing on their supply chains as a response to the complexity and shifting wants of the marketplace. Simultaneously, supply chains are more complex, global and difficult to control, and consumers and the media have access to information about supply chains like never before.
  • 76% of manufacturers believe global sourcing is a means to improve product quality; a 19% increase from what manufacturers noted last year, reflecting manufacturers’ need to enhance competitiveness in a volatile and financially challenged global marketplace. The global differences include 87%-88% of Chinese and Indian manufacturers viewing global sourcing as improving quality, while 71% of German and only 57% of US manufacturers viewing global sourcing as improving quality.
  • 46% of manufacturers will be sourcing more from other countries over the next five years, and of these, 79% will add countries from which they source rather than replace their existing sources with new ones.

Ingredients Matter

  • There is an increasing awareness on components’ role in product quality among both consumers and manufacturers.
  • 68% of manufactures report that it is very important to clearly show consumers what ingredients/components are included in their products.
  • Only 30% of consumers strongly believe that manufactures use the best possible ingredients, raw materials or components in the products they buy.

Origin is Critical

  • Sourcing is more international than ever before, often as a means for manufacturers to both reduce costs and improve quality. Consumers are increasingly aware of this globalization and often wary of associated potential risks.
  • 57% of consumers are aware of which country the products they purchase are manufactured in.
  • Both manufacturers and consumers from across the globe rate the quality of sourced materials from developed countries as superior to those from developing countries.
  • In conclusion, the 2012 Product Mindset can be largely understood as a quest for certainty in an uncertain world. Quality, safety and the environment were affirmed as priorities, and the ultimate impact is seen through the supply chain where global sourcing and an emphasis on ingredients and components demonstrate that where a product is made, how it’s made and what’s in it are becoming paramount.



Success Means Learning to Let Go

 |Inc |Dec  3, 2012

Success results not from adding things to your life but from letting go of them.

Letting go

When most people think about success, they think about adding things to their life: more money, more prestige, a nicer car, a bigger house. The problem with that way of thinking is that it ignores the fact that your ability to succeed is directly proportional to your ability to let go of things. Let me explain.

Because you are a human being, you have the potential to do and to be many different things. However, though it’s true you can do anything, you can’t do everything. Every life decision that you make is not just saying yes to the future you want to create but also no to the many other futures that you might have otherwise created.

If you’re going to be truly successful at pursuing that future, you can’t waste time and energy mooning about what might have been if you had made a different decision. You’ll only achieve your goal if you truly let go of those other desires and possible directions.

The ability to let go is especially essential for managers. It’s a truism that the most effective managers delegate as much as possible. By contrast, people who micromanage are always a burden on themselves and the people around them.

Success as a manager therefore means letting go of responsibility and authority. Mitchell Kertzman, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, once told me:

When I started [my first] company, it was a one-man business. There was a time when I did every job in this company. I wrote the programs, I sent out the bills, I did the accounting, I answered the phone, I made the coffee. As the company has grown, I do fewer and fewer of those jobs. And that’s just as well, because I was certainly less competent at them than most of the people who are doing them now. I’m the reverse of the Peter Principle in the sense that I’ve finally risen to my level of competence, which is that I don’t do anything very well and now what I do extremely well is nothing.

Similarly, Lew Platt, arguably HP’s most successful CEO, once characterized the job of the CEO as “managing the white spaces on the organizational chart.”

Business pundits are forever touting the importance of being flexible and nimble. What that really means, though, is that you, and your organization, must be willing and able to let go of behaviors that were successful in the past and are no longer working.

The same is true throughout life, which is actually a process of shedding the burdens and misconceptions of youth. As St. Paul so memorably put it:

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

This is not a philosophy of loss or grief but of the greater success you can achieve that can come only if you truly learn to let go. At the risk of going from the profound to the trivial, I would like to illustrate this point with an experience of my own.

A few months back, I was in a state of incredible frustration. Every part of my business seemed to be stalled, with the solution out of my control. While I was in this state, I called a friend of mine, the movie producer/sales executive David Rotman. (I wrote about him in a prior post.)

He listened to me complain for a few minutes and then said: “Geoff, take a piece of paper and a Sharpie and write the following words in big letters: ‘I love letting go.’ Now hang that paper by your computer screen.”

“That’s your advice?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

I did as he asked, and I’m looking at that piece of paper even as I write this post. Do you want to know what that piece of paper did for me? Plenty. Because it was in my face every time I sat down to work, it reminded me that it’s crazy to obsess about things over which I have no control.

It was hard, but I finally managed to let go of the things that were driving me crazy. And guess what? I began to see that some of the goals I was so worried about meant a lot less to me today than in the past. As a result, I started putting more energy into my writing and into my creative thinking.

What happened? Well, I can’t give you the details just yet, but some incredibly positive things happened, none of which would have taken place if I hadn’t followed David’s advice, if I hadn’t let go of my conception of how things were supposed to be.

I’m not holding myself up as some kind of role model, because, to be honest, I struggle with this stuff every day. However, I do know one thing for certain. Whatever success I might achieve in the future will be the direct result not just of letting go but of learning to love the entire process.

The 2012 Global Innovation 1000 Study: Making Ideas Work

By Barry Jaruzelski, John Loehr, and Richard Holman.  BOOZ & CO.DEC 05,2012

 Year after year, our Global Innovation 1000 study has demonstrated that it is not how much companies spend on research and development that determines success — what really matters is how those R&D funds are invested in talent, process, and tools. In addition to our recurring analysis of R&D spending trends, our eighth annual study of the world’s 1000 largest corporate R&D spenders focuses on the “fuzzy front end” of the innovation process — the tools, mechanisms and networks companies use to generate ideas and effectively convert them into commercialization this year’s study (785kb, PDF) >