Come on down! Let’s estimate the retail price of annual performance reviews. Whoever is the closest to the actual retail price, without going over, wins the Spice is Right cake.

Spice Cake

Innovative companies such as McKinsey replaced annual evaluations with quarterly coaching assessments to better serve beginner and intermediate level associates as well as alleviate time-consuming and therefore expensive practices. In my experience, annual assessments are dreaded routine for management with outdated methods robbing employees of authentic feedback and organizations of improvements. While a harsh critique, an overhaul of traditional performance reviews is long overdue as well as an honest look the silent intimidation keeping an ineffectual tradition in place.

Why are extra-credit projects being treated as requirement? Let’s locate missing brownie points while enjoying a hard-working chocolate treat and ponder how to keep discretionary efforts from being discounted, mislabeled and under-appreciated ever again.

Brownies

With the ubiquity of work-like-an-owner slogans, companies appear desperate for donated work, but can they manage those gifts when received? Discretionary effort, over-and-above job requirements generously gifted, is dangerous territory becoming potential demotivation without transparent expectations and rewards. Further, programs become disastrous without tools for assessing ebb and flow of discretionary efforts as employee’s interest in extra assignments vacillates. If premature turnover of A+ performers is a pattern, mismanagement of elective contribution may be a culprit.

Dark chocolate caramels are delicious confection satisfying youthful taste buds while fleur de sel sprinkles offer old salty dogs something to savor, a perfect candy to bridge the generations. This story may not be easy to digest but I’m sharing as preemptive strike against hoopla for Gen Z as we have suffered enough with Millennial myths.

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel

Dear Senior Team Members and Industry Veterans:

Many moons ago during our freshman professional chapters, we were royal pains in the rear end but were delightfully unaware because ignorance is bliss. Without question, we vexed supervisors with no perception of how blindingly irritating our actions, the Millennial group in your organization comparably oblivious. In my experience, current rookies differ from earlier generations only by social media prowess, but Boomers are hijacking social channels with alarming proficiency, our youth have nothing to call their own. While the struggle to manage amateurs is real, our present novices are no more or less inept than previous generations furthermore it’s a waste of time to fuss over imaginary differences. The jig is up; Millennials are just like everyone else.

Tart

Consider influencers in your professional circle, formal and informal, providing lessons on topics from technical know-how to discernment required for finessing sensitive conversation. Whether consciously recognized or not, teachers are everywhere, some hidden in agonizing lessons ultimately growing into deep-rooted wisdom while others super bosses, furthering expert insight, facilitating our promotion and recognition. Although no journey resistance free, time spent in discomfort is partially within our control based upon how promptly one asks for help when faced with dilemma.

I’m going to make him a cookie he can’t refuse, enter biscotti al cioccolato with espresso, a treat and story with Godfatherly snap out of it, or else advice. 

Weatherman Syndrome, fictional disorder poking fun at an annoying behavior rampant among management of stating the painfully obvious as noteworthy contribution while exonerating themselves from problem resolution. Similar to real Weathermen having no responsibility beyond warnings for impending downpour, their only requirement to look sharp while reporting the forecast, in the same fashion, management loaded with trite instruction, leaves us wondering where to find solutions after wasting countless hours talking in circles. Beam me up, Biscotti! There is no intelligent life form in this meeting.

BREAKING NEWS: Director of Sales implodes in furry after mind-numbing regurgitation of problems with nary a solution in sight.

Fried dough, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Leave a position open too long and you’ll end up fried yourself, but not in a happy donut with sprinkles kind of way. This is a cautionary tale regarding the crucial internal communication that is often overlooked during the recruiting process.

Open positions will put you in the proverbial hot seat with just about everyone but particularly the powers that be. Turnover is part of business life so a well-thought out system to manage the recruiting period is invaluable and will be an excellent test of your managing up skills. Managing up? Yes, while running the office short-handed, recruiting, providing extra support to your now over-worked and cranky team, you must also demonstrate the capacity to make everyone feel comfortable and confident that everything is fine, just fine. Nothing to see here…