Annual reviews and other managerial insights

“Annual performance reviews are one of the silliest inventions of mankind.”  Or so says David C. Baker, well-know marketing/ad agency consultant.  As an analogy, he offers up: “Do you keep track of when your dog pees in the right place and then settle up with treats once a year? “ David was one of the keynote speakers at a TAAN Worldwide agency network meeting I attended in Montreal last year. What he mentioned has been on my mind ever since.

I think David is onto something here when he suggests that managers instead “Take a 10-15 minute walk together every month, unscheduled, where you and the employee go over your monthly notes and set goals.”  The yearly meeting he relates can then be “a celebration and big picture thinking” instead of the rehashing of issues and concerns that have been stewing in a dark caldron for months.

Everyone wants a sense of how they are “doing” as it relates to their job.  After all, it’s their livelihood.  So why not talk to your employees about performance (the Good and the Bad) on a more regular basis?  It is certainly easy to let things get in the way of only doing this once a year.

A few other of the managerial tidbits he offered up were:

“As a whole, agencies don’t celebrate successes enough.  Do it more.  Act silly, even.”

“Your reaction (as a manager) to bad news should be predictable (and good.)”

“Except when hiring for business development and account service, group interviews are cruel.”

“There should be two career paths so that we don’t saddle craftsmen and woman with management duties that they don’t want and aren’t good at.”

“The best training for management you’ll ever get is a) having kids and b) having a great role model boss in your past.”

So, do you have any opinions about the annual review idea?  Or any other good manager-isms to share?  Would love to hear your thoughts.