10Performance Appraisals that Lead to Extraordinary InfluenceHow One Famous Company Threw Out Its Traditional Performance Appraisal System and the New Process That's Reaping Big Gains

A client asked a colleague to meet with a senior executive who had been the object of numerous complaints over the years. His value to the company was quite significant due to his industry knowledge and extensive technical skills. The loss of his contributions to the business threatened a huge setback in competitive advantage. The CEO asked my colleague to conduct a 360 exercise or what's also called multi-rater feedback. Despite many earlier failures to help this talented executive change his behavior, the deep hope of management was that holding up the mirror based on the anonymous feedback from his peers and direct reports would break through his hardened shell and motivate him to make needed changes in how he related to others. Although everyone agreed he would never be a bastion of interpersonal warmth in his business relationships, they hoped that his denigration of others who did not possess his technical prowess and industry expertise could be better controlled.

The feedback session did not go well. My colleague, a leading expert in this field, carefully navigated the landmines she knew covered the landscape of his psyche. Despite her focus on his remarkable strengths, he became increasingly agitated as the critical feedback surfaced on the report. It drew stark attention to his considerable ...

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