In a democratic workplace, one of the most important requirements is transparency on performance. In particular transparency on the performance of managers, business line leaders and other people where they supervise, support, look over other people.
If you are suppressing your people, there is no way they can perform at their best.
Obtaining feedback tells you how well you are doing personally – essential for long term sustainability.
Semco does this well (Ricardo Semler’s company) by using Upward Feedback forms. You can read all about it in his book Maverick (Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace)
I took what is explained by Ricardo and turned it into a process that I applied several times with my team. I do it about every 6 months or so.
It takes courage to hear the results, and even more to do something about it, however the benefits expand you incredibly, both personally and as an organisation.
Just remember the first rule: There is only one rule and it is that there are no rules! Work with your team and develop the tool with them. It benefits everyone.
Here’s what I did:
At the time of the first evaluation, my team about 35 people. I personally delivered the form to every person explaining what it was for (evaluating my performance as their leader) and inviting them to complete it. I made it clear that it was totally voluntary and would totally anonymous. If and when they complete the form they are to give it to my secretary – not to me.
To my secretary I gave clear instructions not to talk to me about who has said what or who has marked what. She had to simply compile the results into a score sheet, by counting how many As, Bs, Cs and Ds. I did the analysis afterwards. She throws the original forms away once she has extracted the results.
She also types out the free field “Tell me What you think” section I have. I can’t tell who wrote what.
Everyone in my team who is given the form is told that I will never know who wrote what. So they are free to say what they wish.
I then present the anonymous results to my team so they know where I stand with them.
The feedback analysis form is here:
A result of less than 70% means work to be done. Under 50% means why are you even there?!!
I scored 86% on my last evaluation.
I pitched this to the CEO of the 40,000 person organisation I was consulting but the company wasn’t ready for widespread use of the process so I just keep it to myself and my team, nethertheless it worked really well.
This is how I analyse the results:
Not everyone answers every question. The analysis takes this into account.
- Give A, B, C & D a simple score. A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, D = 4.
- I have 36 multiple choice questions on my form. 14 of them have 4 answers (A, B, C and D), whilst 22 have only 3 answers (A, B and C). Hence the top score is 122 (4 x 14 + 3 x 22).
- For every answer I work out it’s average score. So for example for a question you had 3 x As, 5 x Bs, 26 x Cs and 5 x Ds, the average score would be:(3 x 1 + 5 x 2 + 26 x 3 + 5 x 4) / (3+5+26+5) = 111/39 = 2.84 (out of a possible maximum of 4)
- Add all these aggregated scores together.
- Divide them by the theoretical maximum score (in my case 122)
- Convert to % (divide the score by the maximum and multiple by 100)
Should you weight questions? No, don’t do it. Why? It makes it complicated. Keep it simple.
Develop the form with your team. They can contribute questions suited to the task at hand or are more relevant to your organisation.
This post was in response to a request from Tiago Andrade e Silva earlier this year when he read my Slideshow presentation on forming teams. You can see the presentation here.
On 04/03/10, tiagonmas wrote:
I read the Maverick book and knew about the Supervisor evaluation form.
I just implemented it with my team. Do you know what are the rules to reach the overall % ? how is each question weighted ? what are the ratios ?
Tiago Andrade e Silva
Thanks for sharing. I also encouge everyone to try this evaluation process.
Here’s an overview of the specific Semler activities I implemented:
1. Lots of discussions on the issues, lots of openness.
2. No regular meetings – only when issues where raised. This had a great impact, because people felt it was important to turn up when a meeting was called and then they contributed. (Because they knew there was a problem to solve). This was a rewarding point when I got to this. Meetings ran themselves. Those that had solutions contributed. All I did was table the issue. This was very gratifying.
3. No reporting on progress, except issues. When the work was done it was done.
4. Sharing of information – like client feedback. Helped greatly remove doubt and unclear purpose or share in some confusion or mixed messages.
5. The feedback form – people felt that they could trust what I said – that I wanted them to succeed, and it was through me improving as a leader that they would improve. They then helped me more – giving me advice when I might have said something too quickly or rashly to other members of the team.
6. Major milestones where celebrated – and funded from the company: not personal payments as other managers were doing. We where working for the company, so it had to pay for the benefits. This I pointed out and gave people courage that they were important and significant to the company (they where getting additional recognition).
7. When I stuffed up I’d admit it and handed over credit when credit was due. This gave people a lot of courage to discuss their ideas and issues with me directly and at meetings with the group.
Was browsing latest LinkedIn email & came across YOU! How are you mate? long time no speak.
This is a great article and you are very brave.
Drop us a line if U got time.
Take care, Paul
Hi Jeremiah! Is there still a chance you are willing to share your feedback form with me? The link is no longer working. Thank you very much in advance!
Thanks for your comment.
The link has been updated now: