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Get Rid of the Performance Review! Hardcover – 14 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Business Plus (14 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044655605X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446556057
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 516,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The performance review. It is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. We all hate it. And yet nobody does anything about it. Until now... Straight-talking Sam Culbert, management guru and UCLA professor, minces no words as he puts managers on notice that -- with the performance review as their weapon of choice -- they have built a corporate culture based on intimidation and fear. Teaming up with Wall Street Journal Senior Editor Lawrence Rout, he shows us why performance reviews are bogus and how they undermine both creativity and productivity. And he puts a good deal of the blame squarely on human resources professionals, who perpetuate the very practice that they should be trying to eliminate. But Culbert does more than merely tear down. He also offers a substitute -- the performance preview -- that will actually accomplish the tasks that performance reviews were supposed to, but never will: holding people accountable for their actions and their results, and giving managers and their employees the kind of feedback they need for improving their skills and to give the company more of what it needs. With passion, humor, and a rare insight into what motivates all of us to do our best, Culbert offers all of us a chance to be better managers, better employees and, indeed, better people. Culbert has long said his goal is to make the world of work fit for human consumption. "Get Rid of the Performance Review!" shows us how to do just that.

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. P. Davies on 12 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
Samuel A. Culbert is an award-winning author, researcher and full-time, tenured professor at UCLA's Anderson School of Management. And why exactly does that qualify him to write this book? I write as a manager who has seen his business transformed into a world-class, hi-tech, high morale, successful design and manufacturing company by a number of strategies, including the introduction of performance reviews. We service some of the world's greatest companies - Ericsson, Huawei, Apple, Cisco to name a few - and have trebled out revenues and quadrupled our profitability. He has so completely missed the point of performance reviews it's frightening. Repeat after me: it is not performance reviews that are at fault per se, but THE WAY THEY ARE IMPLEMENTED. His great visionary idea of "performance previews" are merely performance reviews done correctly! Perhaps things are done differently in the US but if you live in Europe, don't waste your money on this book

"Also, managers like the security reviews give them. Who wouldn't want that kind of power, the sense that only you know what's best?..........Bosses have to stop believing that they have all the answers, and they have to stop management by intimidation...........(bosses) should know better -- they DO know better. But if they give up that function, they lose their seat at the big table. And so they fight to keep it." Are you kidding me? Maybe 30 years ago, when businesses were run hierarchically, by x-type managers. But in today's businesses, managers are facilitators and coaches not directors. In today's Continuous Improvement driven businesses, everyone knows that ALL employees (and Managers are included here) have a valuable input into how companies are run and how processes etc can be improved.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 60 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Sam Wants You! 21 Mar 2010
By J. Moran - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ah, the business/career advice book, that calm appeal to mature rumination in favor of some innovative approach! That is NOT this book. This is a would-be inflammatory polemic looking to send mobs of its readers, pitchforks and torches in hand, to overturn the oppressive and inefficient old regime and bring in a new and happier age.

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.

Culbert's views are anchored in his deep belief that a desire for useful work is a central part of our humanity. The work experience, he thinks, should thus be satisfying as well as efficient; and fulfilling as well as profitable. He believes that the PR makes attaining these goals impossible. He may well be right.

This is an interesting and passionately argued book, well worth the reading.
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A 10-chapter book squeezed into just 1 poorly constructed chapter, & the topic deserved something more than conversational text. 5 Mar 2010
By Jeff Lippincott - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It was OK. I didn't particularly like it. But I didn't dislike it. I liked the title and was hoping for a well-written and well-organized tome that would justify the elimination of Job Performance Reviews in all or most companies that have subordinate employees. Unfortunately the book was more a rant than a researched and logical treatise on why America's workforce would be better off if they didn't have to be subjected to annual performance reviews.

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. Performance reviews are hated, and managers and subordinates avoid doing them until they have to.

Some of these things I agree with. But some of them I don't. But that is not really the issue. What bothered me was that the substance of the book was squeezed into Chapter 7 and the other chapters really didn't add much to the topic. Chapter 7 taken alone just did not support the price of the book. In fact, Chapter 7 could have been laid out a whole lot better, and it wasn't.

I got the feeling that the author got a lousy job performance review recently, and by writing this book he was able to deal with that review. When I was going through grade school and middle school in my youth the superintendant of schools for my school district did not believe kids should get grades on their report cards. So I got Ss and Ns for "satisfactory" and "needs improvement." What a shock high school was when I all of a sudden had to get grades on my report cards. As I read the instant book I felt as though the author was as wacky as my old superintendent of schools. Progress reviews might not be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But they do have their purposes. And often times they are needed. And HR people are supposed to have leadership roles in organizations - not merely be subordinates like the author suggests. 3 stars!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Are we reading the same book? 26 Jan 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For everyone who gave it 4 stars and up, I have to ask, did we all read the same book?

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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Change is Needed - Perhaps More Examples Needed? 23 April 2010
By Talvi - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book is interesting and certainly author Culbert is very passionate about the subject. At times, that passion can translate into a bit of belligerence when, really, if you have bought the book he's likely already convinced you by the first page. As with most of these types of HR books, the author seems to stretch the topic as far as possible (it might have sufficed as a white paper!) and there is a lot of rhetoric and then a few examples. I'm always interested in practice rather than theory but I had no doubt that Culbert knew the subject well and had some great ideas in there for better HR evaluation and incentive practices.

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. Does ANYONE want to eat while getting their evaluation, even if it's all good?

So yes, there are a lot of problems out there with performance reviews. However, if you do it RIGHT, you don't have the problems above. Have the right tool (online peer evaluation for example) and train your managers well, and performance evaluations will serve all the purposes they should.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good concept, disappointing result 14 Feb 2011
By Kevin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I saw the title of this book, I was excited about the potential solutions it might hold. What I purchased and read was a 228 page rant about the evils of the review process and the incompetence of the HR profession. While I agree with some of his opinions, this is not a book that objectively reviews alternative systems, nor does it present a viable solution. The performance preview is even less likely to be an effective alternative than the review process it is supposed to replace. Save your money and keep looking.
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