This Week in Culture

Why I Don’t Hate Performance Reviews Anymore

Performance reviews have long been a hot topic in HR, often criticized and feared, transformed into a source of anxiety by mainstream media narratives. I’ve been on the fence about them myself, given that at a personal level, I struggle with receiving feedback. When I’m not feeling confident about my work I worry about what feedback I will get as performance review day looms. If I am killing it, I get nervous that my performance won’t result in the bonus or raise I think I deserve. If I am in the middle of the road, I don’t know which way it’s going to go and so I fear the unknown. I am not unique. This is why so many hate performance reviews. 

But since joining Culture Partners, my perspective has shifted dramatically. I find myself appreciating performance reviews more than ever before, but not for the reasons you might expect. It’s not looking back at past successes that I enjoy, it’s the comprehensive discussions about our future that get me fired up.  

Our approach at Culture Partners encapsulates a revamped performance review template, now conducted quarterly, focusing on various facets of our professional and personal ambitions. This template includes: 

Why are we here and what are our collective goals? 

What are the goals for the team I lead? 

What are my work goals? 

What are my personal goals? (I.e. scrapbooking project? Run a marathon?) 

How’d I do last quarter? 

What feedback do I have for my manager?  

What feedback does he have for me?  

How would I rate the company on various elements of collaboration and performance? 

Why is this revolutionary? Only two of the eight questions directly address my past performance. This shift underscores why I’ve grown to value performance reviews more positively. They’ve evolved into a dialogue about growth, goals, and mutual feedback, rather than a one-sided assessment of whether or not I passed “the test.” 

This new framework fosters genuine conversations, sets clear expectations, and promotes accountability across all organizational levels. It encourages directness, not as a bold exception but as the expected norm. Organizations now recognize that to thrive, they need more than productivity; they require continuous growth, adaptability, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. 

For leaders, this means dropping any shred of invulnerability and actively participating in the accountability process. Accepting feedback, processing it constructively, and implementing change are vital. It sends a powerful message: every team member is essential to our collective growth journey, with feedback serving not as criticism but as a tool for building a stronger, more resilient organization. 

At Culture Partners, we practice what we preach, focusing on feedback that supports growth without causing defensiveness. We aim to create an environment where feedback is a pathway to improvement, not a hindrance to confidence. 

For team members, this marks the end of a passive approach to career development. It’s an invitation to actively shape your growth, to seek feedback not reluctantly but as vital nourishment for your professional path. This era is for those who see feedback not as a critique but as a catalyst for their next leap forward. 

Elsewhere In Culture 

Elon Musk and X/Twitter Sued for $128 Million Over Alleged Unpaid Severance

At its core, a healthy workplace culture is the backbone for driving strong business results. Yet Elon Musk’s alleged actions at Twitter represent a culture catastrophe that will undoubtedly hinder the company’s performance. Abruptly terminating top talent without cause, while refusing to honor contractual severance agreements, breeds deep resentment and distrust among employees. This scorched-earth approach obliterates morale and will make it extremely challenging to attract and retain the high-caliber professionals Twitter needs to innovate and compete. 

You simply cannot drive sustainable results when leadership disregards ethical norms and tramples over its workforce. True executive leadership is about inspiring teams and fostering an environment of mutual trust, not ruling through capricious power plays. If Musk wants to right the ship at Twitter and unlock its potential, he must rebuild that foundation of integrity – upholding fair policies, open communication, and a basic respect for workers’ rights and dignity. Only then can Twitter realign its culture to support its larger strategic objectives. Because at Culture Partners, we understand culture is the key driver of organizational success – ignore it at your own peril. 

Spoiler alert: Accountability and institutional responsibility are major connecting threads across this year’s Oscar-nominated films. Oppenheimer doesn’t pull any punches in depicting how scientific geniuses like the title character essentially created world-altering forces of destruction with the atomic bomb. And while advancing the frontiers of discovery is admirable, the film raises crucial ethical questions about the accountability that must accompany innovation and leadership that impacts humanity so profoundly. There’s an inescapable social burden that visionaries can’t ignore when they reshape civilization itself. 

Movies like Barbie and The Holdovers also spotlight how big institutions frequently sidestep accountability – hindering their ability to achieve objectives. Barbie satirizes corporations promoting unrealistic beauty standards through manipulative marketing tactics rather than owning up to their damaging cultural influence. The Holdovers takes an honest look at academia struggling with accountability around tenure and prioritizing reputation over confronting systemic issues. Both underscore how major entities lacking transparent policies, true safe spaces for candid dialogue, and leadership willingness to have uncomfortable conversations enable unhealthy cultures that stunt growth. At Culture Partners, we help foster genuine accountability by guiding organizations to proactively get uncomfortable, solve root problems, and align their cultures to drive results. 

Want to learn how to connect with anyone and win people over? Just had a fantastic conversation with David McRaney, a renowned author and psychology enthusiast, on the Culture Leaders Podcast. You must read his book and listen to this episode! 
This conversation will give you powerful tools to level up the culture at your organization. 
In this episode, we explore: 
– The influence of personal experiences on cognitive biases. 
– The journey to intellectual humility and self-awareness. 
– Understanding social dynamics through a psychological lens. 
– The pivotal role of emotions in decision-making. 
– The significance of authentic conversations for personal and professional growth. 
Tune in to the full episode for captivating insights and thought-provoking discussions.  

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