Posted by & filed under Credit.

May 25, 2022

By: Thea Dudley

Performance management isn’t dead; the old way of thinking about it is. I would love to claim ownership of the bit of wisdom, but it is attributed to Anita Bowness. It has been my mantra in credit management for a long time now. Regardless of who said it, it underscores the “one and done” approach to the yearly performance review is dead. If you are still rocking the yearly review, wake up, it is 2022! Organizations excel when employees get consistent coaching and feedback in ongoing conversations.

The yearly review is, was, and always has been a flawed system. Who remembers what happened eleven months ago? The year usually ends up encapsulating the last few weeks leading up to the review. So heaven help the employee who had a few tough weeks! How has it ever been possible to recap someone’s performance, get the best out of them and inspire them for the next twelve months if it all must be packaged up once a year, usually in an hour or less? That is what stands as a performance review? Where is the coaching? Where is the opportunity for growth?

The challenge is, how do you have those ongoing coaching sessions, keep them conversational and put some structure around them? No matter what your role in the company is, chances are you have someone who is accountable to you. I equate reviews to coaching my customers on expectations. If I don’t set them, lay them out clearly, check in with them, and hold each other accountable for our share of the relationship, how do we both improve?

Welcome to the one-on-one review. I have been using this method now for several years with much better results. I stumbled on it when I was searching for a way to build a better review mousetrap. I was tired of dreading the yearly review, not to mention the groans and eye rolls from employees. Those that did push for it were really less about the review than the anticipated, even expected, “I made it through another year” pay increase.

The one-on-one review was the perfect solution – conversational, consistent, and engaging. It is also the easiest and most enjoyable “review” I have ever done. How to do it? Set up quarterly, half-hour meetings with each employee. Design your one-page form broken into discussion areas: frustrations, goals, what projects they are working on, how can you support them, and what they are working toward. After a few times, you really learn a lot about the people on your team, and it is surprising where the path takes them. In a nutshell, it is so much more productive than a stodgy once-a-year drudge fest.

Goals and growth have a much better chance of staying on track if they are nurtured, discussed, and visited often. Best part: it is painless! I chose once a quarter, but you can set it up once a month, every six weeks, whichever works for your company.

Now, no one dreads the yearly review, goals are on track, and issues, frustrations, and challenges are addressed before they have a chance to blow up. More ideas are brought to the table, and the “I need to talk to you” stressed-out moments are less since everyone knows they have some time to chat coming up. Take a chance and shake things up; try the one-on-one!

Thea Dudley, credit leader, columnist, speaker, and author, brings over 30 years of credit and collection management experience. Thea can show you how to leverage your credit and collections program to the financial benefit of your company. With expertise in the development of shared services processes and assessment of back-office needs to improve efficiencies and building profit through credit, Thea’s communication and negotiation skills have made her a valuable partner for manufacturers, dealers, general contractors, and subcontractors, throughout the construction industry.

Specializing in a whole company approach to credit and collections with an emphasis in development in shared services process and assessment of back-office challenges to improve efficiencies and create productive teams. Credit and sales can co-exist peacefully (mostly) to help the company grow and reach its’ goals. Thea’s extensive background and cross-section of working credit, collections, and AR management with manufacturers, one and two-step dealers, general contractors, and sub-contractors give me a unique perspective on how to pull the entire food chain together and leverage it for your company’s benefit.

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