Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fresh Perspective on the Performance Review

With the exception of parenting two high-spirited boys, I have found nothing more rewarding than my 15 years of entrepreneurial experience at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic). For that reason, I encourage any professional when they are at an appropriate point in life to take the plunge and start their own venture.

When asked about lessons learned from Strategic’s formative days, I typically provide two suggestions:

1. Do not underestimate the time, intensity and passion required to get a business off the ground and maintain momentum during the initial three to five year period when the company is in its most precarious position; and

2. Never name the company after yourself.

I realize this second piece of advice is in conflict with the branding methodology of a myriad of successful professional services firms.

Plus, most entrepreneurs have a rather high opinion of themselves and their capability. It’s a required personality trait to be able to slog through the setbacks any venture is bound to experience.

However, you learn rather quickly that for any company to achieve its potential the founder and owner must set their ego aside. I won’t go as far as to imply that a corporate head works for the employees. Rather, the mission is to find a balance between your needs, the goals of the organization and the professional desires of your colleagues.

This week I am sitting down one-on-one with each member of Strategic’s senior team to discuss the accomplishments and challenges of 2009, share my thoughts on their performance, and chart out the intersection between their professional objectives and our corporate goals.

I love speaking with prospects, strategizing with clients and Strategic’s agency-wide creative brainstorming sessions. Yet, this personal interaction – the so called annual performance review -- is most important component of my job.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like "Trump"?

Usually Frustrated Caps Fan said...

Marc:

Both...

As you point out this is a very important aspect of any leader's job and it's essential for everyone on a team to "know what price their stock is trading at." Likewise it's key they understand where you, their "boss" feel they need to improve and where they are market leaders and you want them to share their "best in class" abilities and knowledge with the rest of the team.

That said it is rare when a well thought out, thorough performance review doesn't have some items that cause at least a little tension as no employee comes to work thinking they aren't going to do a good job. So telling them those areas where they need to work on improvement is of course not nearly as fun as praising them for the things they've done well and accomplished the prior year. Things seem especially tense when these topics are brought up during a time of general business malaise and economic downturns.

Nice blog and blog article!

John McGoldrick said...

Personally I love them. Given that the objectives and goals were mutually agreed clearly between the parties, and progress or otherwise measured by both on a frequent basis, I have always found them productive.
It is when the review is indeed only visited on an annual basis that in my experience these things can become a chore, and lets not forget these are personal to the individuals concerned (career progress and even salary correction).
Unsure whether I would agree about it being the most important part of a CEO's role although it is certainly high on the requirements list.