As I attempted to circum navigate a huge traffic jam, using my Sat Nav, which kept telling me ‘to turn around when possible, I became increasingly frustrated and contemplated turning it off. It only became silent as I got on to a recognised route picked up via the GPS,  it made me think about how many staff are told’ to turn around when possible’ without any discussion or debate as to why they may have taken an alternative route with a task or an objective they are expected to achieve. Do they ever hear the magic five words at the end of their journey, when you say ‘you have reached your destination’ and the recognition of that achievement with a ‘well done!’

You are probably now thinking, OK she’s lost the plot, but just bear with me for a little while. Before the explosion of satellite navigation systems, Google Maps and GPS on our phones, when setting off on a journey you might expect to plan it, having an idea where you are going and how long it might take. You would think so, but what about the inexperienced driver? I recall being told about such a person who set off on their first car journey to London, on their own, no Sat Nav, no co-pilot, not even a map. Bravdo, naivety even stupidity comes to mind. All they knew was they had to head for the M6 and then head South. This presupposes they knew the signs that suggested your headed ‘South’. They duly found the M6, manoeuvred their vehicle onto the motorway and only realised at the ‘end of their journey’ that they had reached Edinburgh and not London. I can hear you saying, ‘no way’! So if you don’t know the landmarks en route, Preston, Blackpool, Lake District, Gretna Green – I guess you can be forgiven –sort of!! No Sat Nav to tell you to ‘turn around when possible’, naively carrying on your journey till the final destination makes you realise that you have made a dreadful mistake – not life threatening, but a huge waste of time and if expected at an important meeting, well you’ve blown it!

As I continued my journey, the Sat Nav quietly indicating in the background how long I had left to complete my journey and when to expect to take the next turn off the road  – 5 miles to the next roundabout and then take the ‘third exit’, I was comforted that I would be at my destination on time. My reflections led me to thinking, how comforting it is if you have a manager, like a Sat Nav, quietly in the background providing the assurance that you are ‘on track’.

This brings me to the debate as to whether traditional performance reviews are ‘old hat’. Late in 2013 the NY Times (Invasion of the Annual Reviews) and Forbes (Time to Scrap Performance Appraisals?) commented that some companies had forsaken the end of year formalised approach for a less informal, on-going review throughout the year. I tend to agree, a one off end of year appraisal, without any guidance or intervention could result in a member of your team ‘reaching a destination’, but not necessarily the right one! However, I am still of the opinion that there needs to be some ‘formality’ and ‘recording’ of those discussion. Everyone is clear about where they are heading, how long it might take and what support they will get. Then those informal discussions, coupled with more formalised meetings (on a quarterly basis), so that any changes of direction, or ‘road blocks’, can be discussed and agreed, provides a greater opportunity for the achievement of the objective (s).

So as I achieve this objective, it’s 3.30 pm, my faithful friend announces that I ‘have reached my destination’, and despite the diversion, I am in plenty of time, I am in the right place and feel totally relaxed to meet my client.

A good appraisal/performance review process can provide the same level of comfort at the end of year for your staff ad more importantly for you, the business owner. If you are confident that this is the case, well done. If not and you want to discuss your ‘Satellite Navigation’ requirements then contact me, Lisa Harper, lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk