Radical candor

Performance reviews can be both a celebratory reflection on the last period of time and a chance to set expectations for the period to come.

I didn’t really enjoy the book, Radical Candor. It’s great advice but, honestly, it felt like this should be status quo or base minimum behavior in business. I’ve always believed in honesty and, in a professional environment it’s absolutely vital to push forward as a team.

With review season upon many of us this quarter, the idea of radical candor comes up yet again. Most reviews take a significant amount of time to write – tracking down examples and anecdotes to back up a quantitative rating. Unfortunately, many reviews come as a surprise to the employee being reviewed.

Any feedback that comes as a surprise during the review cycle points to a fundamental failure in the manager.

How I do reviews

Performance management is an ongoing process. Feedback should come quickly and regularly throughout the year. Any missteps are learning opportunities that must be addressed immediately.

Likewise, even the most minor success should be celebrated immediately. It’s numbing to work for months before any successes are collected and praised. It’s even worse to discover you’ve made a mistake months after the fact with no chance to rectify a problem.

My reviews are a mere writing down of the feedback and praise that has been otherwise conveyed and reviewed throughout the year. It’s also a time to pause and strategize for the period to come.

What do I want you to accomplish? What is it you want to learn? How do you want to grow? What do you want to say, looking back on the next six months, that you’re most proud of?

Every review should be a positive experience – either a celebratory reflection on the last period of time or an opportunity to reset and level expectations for the period to come.