Why Annual Performance Reviews Are Barriers To Learning

Meaningful learning at work is continuous. Learning is a function of 9 elements: curiosity, improvement and innovation intentions, feedback, critique, small experiments, subject matter expert resources, the identification and new ways of engaging strengths.

Most annual performance reviews offer feedback and critique, but not the whole spectrum of rich learning possibilities. Even then, when it focuses on the weakness side of feedback and critique, it is not helpful because there is actually no evidence that focus on weaknesses is a prerequisite to sustainable learning. All the evidence points to how negative feedback creates enough defensiveness and resentment to prevent learning and intrinsic motivation for learning. When people learn more, it's because they have learned in spite of the overt denial of their strengths.

Even worse is that delayed feedback, like for up to a year, makes real time agile learning impossible and logically erodes trust because withholding actionable feedback for any period of time is easily experienced as a major passive aggressive move. 

So the idea here is to replace the debilitating rituals of annual performance reviews with ongoing authentic support for learning in all 9 elements.