HBR Video: Reinventing Performance Management

I stumbled across this today at hbr.com.  It covers the process that Deloitte used to revamp its internal review process.  It was forced to make the change because its previous process had the following issues:

Performance Management Issues

  • Annual process wasn’t timely.
  • Goals changed throughout the year.
  • Inconsistent skills ratings from one person to another.
  • The process took thousands of hours and didn’t produce very good results.

Qualities of High Performing Teams:

  • A change to use your strengths every day
  • Inspiring Mission
  • Coworkers commitment to quality

New process focuses on four future statements.  Managers are asked to mark how much they agree with these statements:

  • I would reward this person the highest possible increase and bonus.
  • I would always want this person on the team.
  • This person is at risk for low performance.
  • This person is ready for promotion today.

Deloitte’s research shows a direct correlation between the frequency of conversations and the engagement of team members.

Weekly Check-ins:

  • Set Expectations
  • Review Priorities
  • Comment on Work

Deloitte’s new performance management focuses on

  • See performance accurately.
  • Reward it Accordingly.
  • To inspire better performance in the future.

The system is designed to focus on future performance, not past performance.

Reading Notes: Creativity Inc: Understanding the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Author: Ed Catmull

Format: Audible

Subject: Culture

Rating: 10/10


This book is very much the story of Pixar.  Which is a story that I found very enjoyable in itself.  But, the book also contains a lot of ingredients that make the company such a success.  Catmull, who is one Pixar’s co-founders, does an excellent job sharing his experiences over the decades long time frame the book covers.

Catmull believes that creative problem solving is critical for businesses is any industry.  The book outlines the process of making creativity a part of an organizations daily culture.

A hallmark of a healthy and creative culture is that people feel free to express ideas, opinions, and criticisms.  The word honesty carries baggage that can hold people back. So, encourage candor over honesty.  Pixar puts smart people in a room together to solve problems, and encourages them to use candor in their conversations with one another.  They refer to these meetings as a Brain Trust.

An Effective Feedback system is built on empathy; an idea, that we are in this together.  The purpose of feedback is to move the process forward.  Effective feedback requires candor, trust, and empathy.  A note is a good way to give feedback.  A good note is timely and specific, it should inspire,  it clarifies what is wrong or missing, it doesn’t have to include a fix to the problem, and it makes no demands.

Catmull also stresses the importance of “Getting the Team Right.”  He believes that great teams are far more important than great ideas.  He also encourages managers to hire people that are smarter than they are and have a lot of potential. (“hire for potential, not the past.”)  Find, develop, and support good people.    A good team is made up of people who complement each other.   Understand the mix of talent in the group, match the right people with the right task.


What I like most about the book:  

I really enjoyed listening to the many challenges that were overcome while making Pixar hits such as  Toy Story, Up, Monsters Inc.

Favorite Quotes:

  • The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
  • Quality is the best business plan.
  • If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.
  • You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.
  • Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
  • Don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. It’ll be pretty when we get there, but it won’t be pretty along the way.
  • Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.
  • If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.
  • What is the point of hiring smart people, we asked, if you don’t empower them to fix what’s broken?
  • You don’t have to ask permission to take responsibility.
  • Be patient. Be authentic. And be consistent. The trust will come.
  • It is not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.
  • If there are people in your organization who feel they are not free to suggest ideas, you lose.
  • Societal conditioning discourages telling the truth to those perceived to be in higher positions.
  • There is nothing quite as effective, when it comes to shutting down alternative viewpoints, as being convicted you are right.
  • Measure what you can, evaluate what you measure, and appreciate that you cannot measure the vast majority of what you do.

CNBC interview with Bill Belichick

The greatest coach of all time doesn’t spend a lot of time giving interviews, so this is definitely worth a watch.

Quotes from the Interview:

  • “Every battle is won before it is fought.” – Sun Tzu
  • “A battle plan is great until you go into battle, then it doesn’t mean anything.” – General Dwight Eisenhower
  • “Don’t be afraid to use a good idea.”
  • “Good players can’t overcome bad coaching. It’s impossible”


UCA Bears Football: Conque Calls It Quits

I am very sad to see him go.  We had a great 14 years under his leadership.  Some of my best collegiate memories involve Bears football (tailgates, victory parties, road-trips.)  They were great times.  I wish him continued success as he continues his career at as the head coach for Stephen F Austin, that is of course, unless he is coaching against my beloved Bears.

Thank you for the memories Coach Conque.

Clint Conque


He’s Back!

My favorite American General and Statesman, Colin Powell was interviewed on this morning’s episode of Face the Nation.  The interview was more backward than forward looking than I would have liked.  Powell insisted that he is still a member of the Republican Party and hope the party will broaden its base by becoming more inclusive.  He took the high road when speaking about the recent criticism he has received from Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney.   He also discussed Guantanamo Bay and enhanced interrogation techniques.