A client said to me the other day that her board had not formally reviewed her performance in a few years and she had not formally reviewed her direct reports in about the same amount of time. To quote Texas Governor Rick Perry, “Oops!”
Admittedly, the best coaching takes place daily in ongoing conversations. But, once a year, you still must step back and consider overall performance.
The discussions and coaching that takes place day to day, if even those are occurring, tend to focus on immediate problems, not on the organization’s mission and vision and certainly not on the employee’s goals and career.
In addition, good performance reviews link everything together:
- Organization mission, vision and annual goals
- Executive Director goals
- Staff goals
This assures that the vision and culture of the organization start at the board and Executive Director level, and then flow through to all employees, giving the organization consistency and a common purpose.
I also tend to be a supporter of 360 reviews, where bosses, peers and direct reports (and sometimes clients) all provide input into the process. With the advent of free and inexpensive electronic survey resources like SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang, obtaining multiple perspectives in a confidential process is now quite simple.
As usual, Jan Masaoka of Blue Avacado offers some great tips on performance reviews and provides a template for the evaluation of an executive director.