How to Build the Best Workplace on Earth

[ad_1] In the current (May 2013) issue of Harvard Business Review, there’s an article called Creating the Best Workplace on Earth. In it the authors talk about what employees really need to be their most productive. Among the six factors they identify is this one: employees need an environment where they can discover and magnify their strengths. In other words, they need an environment where they can develop and grow. As the authors put it, “The ideal company makes its best employees even better.”

Do you remember the annual performance appraisal? Fortunately, it’s starting to go the way of the dinosaurs, but you still see it every now and then. Everybody hates/hated annual performance appraisals! To the person giving the appraisal, it’s an interruption of the work that really needs to get done (at least, that’s how it’s generally approached), and to the person on the receiving end, it all too often felt like being in a police interrogation room. I speak from experience; I’ve been on both sides of this dreaded instrument. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular form of torture, here’s how a typical performance appraisal goes:

Appraiser: Are you ready to get started, Tom?

Victim: I guess so.

Appraiser: Okay then. Here’s the stuff you’re doing well. [Appraiser lists two or three items.]

Victim: Thank you.

Appraiser: And here’s the stuff you suck at. [Appraiser lists seven or eight items.]

Victim: Um… okay.

Appraiser: For the next year, we-and, by the way, when I say “we,” I mean “you”-need to work harder on the stuff you suck at. That’s where I want you to put the bulk of your time and energy.

Victim: Um… okay.

Appraiser: Good talk, Tom! See you again next year.

Okay, first-and you’ll find this surprising-some employees fail to be motivated by this exercise! I know, weird, huh? But here’s the second thing. This manager wants Tom to focus on what he does worst! In other words, she wants Tom to play to his weaknesses. Now, if that’s the instruction she gives to everybody on…

Sourced from by Bill Stainton

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