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Get Rid of the Performance Review!: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing--and Focus on What Really Matters (Business Plus) Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 14, 2010
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About the Author
Larry Rout is an editor at the Wall Street Journal.
More About the Author
Widely recognized as a candid speaking expert and theoretician, he is author of the recently published Beyond Bullsh*t a probing inquiry that reveals how bullsh*t became the etiquette of choice in corporate communications, and how to develop the conditions required for straight-talk. SmartMoney Magazine named this book to its 2008 list of ten top reads. Dr. Culbert is winner of a McKinsey Award for an article published in the Harvard Business Review, is a frequent contributor to management journals and has authored numerous chapters in leading management-related books. More about this and some of the other books he has authored is available at the www.straighttalkatwork.com website. In press is a book titled Get Rid of the Performance Review: How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing - and Focus on the Results That Really Matter. This book, written with Larry Rout, builds on his media grabbing Wall Street Journal article of the same name and is awaiting April 2010 publication. His other authored and co-authored books include The Organization Trap, The Invisible War: The Pursuit of Self-Interests at Work, Radical Management, Mind-Set Management and Don't Kill the Bosses!.
Throughout his career Professor Culbert has creatively welded together three activities: consulting, teaching, and writing. Consulting is where he encounters work effectiveness problems in their contemporary forms, demystifies the basic elements, and formulates alternative modes of functioning. Teaching provides a forum for extrapolating from problems to issues requiring his investigation. Writing is where he packages his understanding for public consumption. His clients include a diverse representation of the private and public sectors: small companies and members of Fortune's 500, international and U.S. governmental agencies, privately funded and not-for-profit organizations. In short, Culbert has been around and gets what's happening. His unconventional views have received a good deal of press, both in the U.S. and overseas.
Top Customer Reviews
Okay, I exaggerate a bit. The book is full of rational arguments establishing the dysfunctionality of the performance review ("PR""). The tone, however, is wholly unlike that of most such books. Culbert writes with the zeal of a righteous preacher, who knows sin when he sees it and strives to extirpate it root and branch. And he wants the reader to join him. He hammers away (sometimes repetitiously, as in all good sermons) at the evil and promotes a remedy at once more effective and virtuous, what Culbert calls a performance preview ("PP").
Other reviewers outlined Culbert's strictures against the PR, so I will not repeat them at length. My own experience has been that Culbert is spot on. The PR is irremediably one-sided, subjective, boss-serving, dishonest, counter-productive and backward looking. It leaves employees demoralized and concerned more about personal "faults" than business objectives.
The PP, as Culbert describes it, at least has a chance to create true teams, with everyone (including the boss) jointly accountable for achieving team goals that reflect business objectives. To work, the PP requires trust and honesty between and among subordinates and boss. Culbert recognizes that this can be difficult both to establish and to sustain and must be worked at. Without trust and honesty the PP approach will fail.Read more ›
Here's the issue (and a handful of other reviews mention it but they're drowned out by the positive reviews) THE WHOLE BOOK CAN BE CONDENSED INTO TWO CHAPTERS max.
It is not until you get to page 143 that the author starts talking about his alternative to the PR. Seriously, come on.. If we are reading this book, it's because we are looking for an alternative. I don't need 140+ pages for you to bash on the PR - we get it, it doesn't work, got it, let's move on.
So frankly, if you want to read it - just skip the rest and read chapters 7 & 8. The first six are a complete waste of time. You do not get anything out of it other than a rehash of things you know already - PR as they are done today are not very effective.
The book is not all that long considering the line spacing was not single and the font size was larger than I am used to reading in a business book. It has 10 chapters and I would list them here if I thought that would help you understand what the book was about. But I'm not going to list them. The meat of the book is found in Chapter 7 entitled "There has to be a better way. And there is." The 12 gripes the author has with performance reviews are listed there as follows:
1. Performance reviews focus on finding faults and placing blame.
2. Performance reviews focus on deviations from some ideal as weaknesses.
3. Performance reviews are about comparing employees.
4. Performance reviews create a competition between boss and subordinate.
5. Performance reviews are one-side-accountable and boss-dominated monologues.
6. Performance reviews are thunderbolt from on high, with the boss speaking for the company.
7. Performance reviews mean that if the subordinate screws up, then the subordinate suffers.
8. Performance reviews allow the big boss to go on autopilot.
9. The performance review is a scheduled event.
10. Performance reviews give HR people too much power.
11. Performance reviews don't lead to anything of substance.
12.Read more ›
In almost 15 years in HR I've seen many different performance evaluation situations:
- ranging from 1 page to 5 pages
- some that require extensive written feedback, some that require almost none
- evaluations that have all the text auto-entered for the manager when they click on a rating level in each category
- I've had managers who deliver reviews in person/on phone to all of their employees and managers who only put it in writing and send it to the employee (despite guidelines to verbally deliver)
- I've had managers who answer phone calls during the performance evaluation discussion with their employee.
- evaluations that say illegal or inappropriate things, like "because she was on medical leave for four months, I didn't promote her."
- employees who visit my office to say their manager just gave them a bad review and it's the first they've ever heard that there was a problem
- evaluations that speak glowingly of employees, then two months later the manager comes to you and says they've had it and the employee must be fired immediately
- My own manager in HR invited me out to lunch to deliver my review.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Samuel Culbert's book is as direct and disruptive as its title, and yet his examples and logic lead to a compelling alternative to the tired, demoralizing practice of performance... Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Goddard
I have worked in HR and I have been on both sides of the Performance Review Process. This book lays out a clear argument for how this process damages teamwork, employee relations,... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Lots of information why the traditional annual performance review process is horribly flawed, but not so much practical advice on what to do to replace them OR sell the process to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by robdew
The author clearly hates people working in the HR function and comes across as pompous. I think he could have made his point in a fraction of the pages he took. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Janet G. Mcnichol
This books is insulting. I was actually seeking out an alternative to change something I already thought was bad. Read morePublished 10 months ago by amazon customer
Sam Culbert has written a book that I wish I had written...I have been critical of performance reviews for some 30 years now. Read morePublished on January 26, 2014 by David K. Banner,PhD
It was decent and I would recommend it. But it's a bit hard to get through everything to really get to the point... Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by Eric Walth
Excellent text. Sam has a direct and clear vision that he portrays in this book with plenty of examples to support his ideas. Read morePublished on March 15, 2012 by Mark Shaw