Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Have Them Show Their Work

At some point in elementary school, we begin to hear from our teachers that it is not enough to simply fill in the blank with an answer, that we also need to "show our work".  Why is that?  Because it allows the teacher to review how we came to our answer.  Did we use the right formula, was our logic sound, did we understand the key concepts, etc.  In assessing our progress on the educational journey, teachers are evaluating both the quality of our decisions and the final outcomes.

I was reminded of this when I watched one of Dan Ariely's videos on BigThink called Promoted to the Level of Incompetence.  "One of the problems with promotions is that we promote people based on outcomes, not about the quality of their decisions," says Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University.   

There is an element of this in annual performance evaluations.  In most programs, we ask the leader to document successful outcomes against their goals, which becomes the justification for the performance rating, the size of the annual raise, the bonus, and ultimately, consideration for the next big promotion. 

What's wrong with that?  Well, as Dan Ariely argues, the outcome is not the whole story.  Like the teacher, we need to evaluate both the final answer and process for how the leader got there.   

A well rounded performance evaluation includes a measurement of behaviors and competencies such as judgement, integrity, collaboration, and strategic thinking, and change management.

Ask your team to show their work, and include that in your evaluation of who is ready graduation and who needs more time with you at the chalkboard.

No comments:

Post a Comment