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This is What’s Derailing Your Performance Management Process

performance management process derailedYour performance management process isn’t quite as effective as you’d hope. You’ve ditched an annual review for more frequent conversations, you swapped out manager assessments for 360 feedback, and you started publicly setting and tracking goals so employees know how their performance is measured. How — after all the research you did and the changes you made — is your performance management process still not engaging employees and increasing performance?

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It isn’t because you lack savvy performance technology (although an upgrade probably wouldn’t hurt); it isn’t because you refused to invest in a high-end consultant; and it’s probably not because your managers aren’t good at measuring or driving the performance of the people they manage.


No, your performance management process is taking a high-speed train to Unsuccessful City and Disengagementville because of something much more profound — your mindset. (I’m talking to you, HR leaders, performance measurers, and process implementers.) Let’s dig in.


Two Types of Mindsets

According to psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindsets that motivate everything we do.  


Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is defined in the term itself — we believe something is fixed, unchangeable, incapable of improvement. Any talent or intelligence we possess are set traits.


Growth Mindset

In a growth mindset, we believe skills and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication; any talent we have is a starting point, not a limit to our success.


When it comes to their own performance at work, employees are already in an unconscious — but changeable — mindset. Here’s how it plays out:


Fixed Mindset at Work

Growth Mindset at Work

  • I have skills that can’t be improved.
  •  Effort doesn’t help.
  • Feedback is threatening.
  • Stretch goals are unrealistic.
  • Others’ success is demotivating.
  • I can get better at most things.
  • Effort and hard work is essential to success.
  • Feedback is helpful.
  • Stretch goals are motivating.
  • Others’ success is inspiring.


Employees who approach their work with a growth mindset perform better across the board — they put in more effort, seek feedback to improve, find role models to learn from, take smart risks, and set better goals. All of this comes from the belief that they can always improve and do better, a growth mindset. 


How HR’s Mindset Derails the Performance Management Process

However, most performance management processes (directly influenced by the mindsets of the leaders who create and implement them) instill a fixed mindset in their employees.


Performance Management Process

Fixed Mindset

Performance Management Process

Growth Mindset

  •  Evaluate your contributions
  •  Prove your worth
  • Look good
  • Assess
  • Point out problems
  • Develop your skills
  • Improve yourself
  • Get better
  • Converse
  • Find solutions


Whether you choose to admit it or not, most organization’s performance management processes fall within the left column, and your employees’ performance is suffering because of it. 


I know you want your employees to have a growth mindset at work. You want them to set motivating stretch goals, embrace feedback, give 110% effort, and truly believe they can improve. But, the hard truth is, your fixed mindset when it comes to employee performance and the management processes you have in place is putting up a massive roadblock. 


Change your mindset and get your performance management process on the right track. 


Curious how mindset can impact other areas of performance? Click below to uncover how our brains impact employees’ ability to give and receive performance feedback (and what you can do about it!)



Free ebook! A Practical Guide to Giving and Receiving Employee Feedback With a Growth Mindset!


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