Earlier this month, the team members of ALG (that’s Avodah Law Group) attended the 2017 Global Leadership Summit (GLS) hosted by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. (We didn’t physically have to fly to Chicago, since one of the satellite streaming host sites was located nearby in Anaheim, CA.) The amazing speaker line-up included leaders from the business world like Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook’s COO), Marcus Lemonis (from the NBC hit show, “The Profit”), and Laszlo Bock (Google), as well as global leaders such as Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative), Gary Haugen (International Justice Mission) and Immaculee Ilibagiza (survivor of the Rwandan genocide).

We thought it would be helpful to share some insights that we have gained into what makes us a better leader, since ALL of you are leading others in several different capacities in life: in your business, your family, your church or other community organizations and nonprofits.

Following is a personal response to the GLS from one of our ALG team members, Ms. Own Her, reflecting on her “take-away” from one speaker that we’d like to share with you.

What happens when you get bad data and mix it with more bad data? You get worse data; however, for some reason, many of us believe that with our bad data, we can actually find good information! Because of my HR background, I found Marcus Buckingham’s talk at the annual Global Leadership Summit to be the most intriguing and eye-opening.

Buckingham dismantles HR’s longtime trust in performance reviews as an accurate assessment of an employee’s performance, proving that the rating of an employee reflects the rater more than the employee. Consider when you rate items on a survey. Do you tend to be more lenient and give higher marks when they did not necessarily deserve it? Or do are you the kind to never go to the extremes and stay safe in the middle ranges?

Take me for example. I tend to rate people on the higher end and even if I truly believe someone deserves a low mark in a particular category, I usually tend to give them a three or a two, hardly ever a one. This means anyone deserving of a low mark will most likely not receive it from me. Why? Because of my own personality, not because of their performance.

We now take my poor and skewed review (because of my personality) and combine it with another person’s inaccurate evaluation (because of their personality) of an employee’s performance and on paper we get a clouded picture of who an employee really is and their value at our organization.

So what now? Should we do away with all performance reviews? By no means. Buckingham offers a very attractive option. Instead of having people rate other people, we have people rate their experiences. Ask the rater to rate how often they go to this particular employee to get something done instead of asking how trustworthy an employee is, and ask how often do they have to follow up with an employee before a task is completed instead of asking how responsible an employee is. Asking these kinds of questions will give a more accurate evaluation of an employee’s performance.

Aside from individual employee reviews, organizations should also evaluate their team as a whole. Buckingham gives us eight conditions of a high performing team and these conditions can be broken down into two separate categories: “we” and “me”. A high performing team has a strong sense of both the “we” as well as the “me” aspect of a team. The team must understand where they are headed and where the individual person fits in that journey. Buckingham offered multiple performance assessing questions you can ask your team, but for now we will focus on a team’s purpose (as an example). When evaluating your team’s purpose, ask these questions:

“We” Question: I am really enthusiastic about the mission of my company.
“Me” Question: At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me.

For more information on Marcus Buckingham or Performance Management, please visit this page.

For more information on the recent 2017 Global Leadership Summit, please go to https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership/.

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