The Ultimate Template to break away from ARCHAIC Performance Reviews

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It’s that time of the year where many leaders are conducting their annual Performance Reviews.

My favourite questions to ask when it come to these kinds of meetings are:

  1. What do your managers and leaders think of these?

  2. How do you action their feedback?

  3. What happens between your annual reviews?

  4. Why do you bother having these?

Our leaders and teams are often cynical about annual performance reviews as they take up a lot of time and, more often than not, nothing ever happens afterwards. The general feedback is that they aren’t looked at again until 12 months down the track. No one wants to waste valuable time on things that don’t deliver a return.

I find traditional forms of performance reviews or appraisals can support passive leadership as they often focus mainly on the past and leaders think ‘I’ll deal with that at their review’, rather than addressing key areas properly at the time.

The most important question is ‘WHY?’ Why do you have them, what is their purpose? Be really clear on this; is it to set a common direction, set clear KPIs, goals and tactics, create a development plan, use as a culture and connection initiative to demonstrate commitment to clear expectations, or support ongoing development?

Clarity and clear thinking = increased focus, commitment and results.


  1. Rename the meeting from ‘Performance Review’ to ‘Future Forward Conversation’
    Reviews or appraisals sound archaic. It’s time we treat our team as adults with a brain, and stop ‘rear vision mirror’ reviews. Let’s focus on the future and what we can change.

  2. Focus in the future
    Set together a clear direction with a Future Focus to increase clarity, motivation and results.

  3. Increase ROI with increased frequency
    Businesses today change so fast, so chances are an annual review won’t position you, your team and business to be agile with the ability pivot to capitalise on changing market conditions. We recommend, six monthly Future Forward Conversations with Quarterly Check-ins.

Refresh the content – make it worthwhile

Three key areas we recommend are within a Future Forward Conversations are:

  1. Gaining feedback on the recent past, the team, environment and continuous improvement ideas

  2. Setting together Future forward goals – to provide clear expectations

  3. Developing an Individual Development plan (IDP) – Think outside the square. Move away from thinking just face to face workshops, to thinking about cross-skilling, online programmes, webinars, reading blogs, listening to podcasts and watching videos 

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