The FARCE of Performance Management

This post is not about bashing the infamous "Performance Review". The reality is they prevail, despite the universal disdain for them. If the performance review comes with your job description you have two choices. Whinge until they are abolished, or simply pull off some personal leadership and make them work. This blog post is about the latter choice. Lets rock......and make sure a performance review under you is anything but a farce.

The WLAA F.A.R.C.E. of Performance Management goes like this....


It absolutely has to be fair. Acknowledge the good stuff and be clear about the expectations for better performance. This entails you being an example about things you may pull your staff up on.

Fresh? Yes, keep it real and keep it open, mixed with a bit of levity. It's not a court case before a magistrate. It's cool, as you are helping people learn and grow and get better at mastering themselves. Keeping things fresh means you treat each review with a sense of individualization, not a stale regurgitation from some performance manual.


Is totally imperative that its accurate. You gotta be clear about their wins and heaven forbid you insinuate they did not do something that they actually did.

It's also crucial that it's about them being in control of their growth and that you support them in their aspirations. The review is not about you, the manager. It is about the worker and they need a sense of certainty its their roadmap you're discussing, not yours imposed on them.


It has to be relevant to them, their strengths, their passions and their goals. It has to matter to them. It has to be related to everything about them, not filled with generic statements about cookie cut performance.

With regard to stretch targets it has to be realistic. When pushing people to the next level of their potential make sure they can do it. Set them up to win. It also has to be relative to the standards you hold everyone too.


The best reviews are those that are spoken. The written stuff is for the record: the stuff HR teams file away. The stuff that lasts are the engaging conversations where the manager listens, makes his point and draws out the worker and makes the connection. Care enough to connect. This requires trust and respect. If the conversation flows you're in a good place. If it does not, don't stress. Have faith that with more trust and respect it will get there. Keep caring.

The worst reviews are ones that are drawn out for no other reason other than you think it is a sign of a hard core manager or that it is a way to stitch someone up. Keep it short, to the point. Make it real, constructive and memorable. Think about 3 things you want your people to take away. Talk to that. Saying less has more impact than saying much. If your staff have to refer to the written review to recall the message you're trying to get across it's lost.   


Of utmost importance the review must direct your people to a better place where they are empowered to make it happen. The purpose of a review is to drive awareness to create a better place for everyone. Great places are created by people who develop their potential and who believe they can create and or contribute to a better tomorrow. Be kind, be firm, paint the picture of possibility and iterate the importance of having them part of the landscape. 

What are your thoughts on making Performance Reviews rock? How do you like them served? Please leave a comment.

What are your thoughts on making the best of performance management reviews? I'd love to know what you think. Please leave a comment, write a trackback or send me an email - karl [at] Please share on your favorite social networks. Thank you.