It's curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.
—Neil DeGrasse Tyson
A performance review, as the old joke goes, is like a fruitcake: It comes around once a year whether you want it to or not. In fact, performance reviews (or performance appraisals) have been coming around every year since 230 AD when they were first introduced in the Wei Dynasty of China as a way of rating the work of government officials.1
By the early 1800s, the idea of evaluating and ranking employees was so widely accepted that an owner of a cotton mill in Scotland hung a color-coded wooden block near the workstation of each employee to indicate whether their work was up to snuff ...