“I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned.”
James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
Recently we heard much about James Harrison, the Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker, who took away his childrens’ trophies as they were simply ‘participation trophies’. Harrison stated “I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I'm not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better...”
Harrison took this action not to punish his children, but to create an environment that encourages them to work hard and try their best. Whether or not we agree with Harrison’s approach, it holds lessons for performance management.
Performance management has evolved over the years and the pendulum has swung from lots of intensive ratings and rankings, to more ‘modern’ approaches of going completely ratingless. These performance processes have evolved with hopefully the same intent of Harrison – to create an environment that encourages and inspires employees to do their best.
The ratingless performance approach has gotten some hype, but has also backfired and caused more harm than good in some cases.
It’s possible – and likely imperative – that you make your performance management process modern, and evolve it, without going to the extreme of ratingless. One of the topics on day one at HR Tech 2015 in glitzy Las Vegas as discussed by keynote speaker Marcus Buckingham, Founder of The Marcus Buckingham Company and New York Times best-selling author, was on Performance Management and the limits of ratingless performance reviews. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can modernize and evolve your performance review processes to increase employee performance and make greater contributions to your organizations without going completely ratingless. Managers that evaluate performance and the HR professionals that support them need to build and manage a performance review process that is agile, continuous, and constructive.
Check out our executive brief Modern Performance Management Doesn’t Have To Be Ratingless.