Although Deming was not a fan of performance evaluations, he was a profound thinker on performance. I find the simplicity of his Plan, Do, Check and Act (PDCA) process cycle helpful in thinking about my own work performance and also imagine it like a fractal which can appear small but grow in ever increasing scale within an organization.
1. Plan: What are the objectives? What processes do we need to achieve results?
2. Do: Implement.
3. Check: Gather data and observations.
4. Act: Adjust processes, make improvements.
Deming says our performance reviews focus on too much the “who” (e.g., who is to culprit) rather than the “why” (why does this process or method work or not work?)
Which is why it makes sense to focus on engagement around the “why” and the question of whether we get the results we desire.
Why not make this part of our everyday conversations?
We can indeed build a system, from the ground up, by first looking at our own PDCA cycle, no matter where we are in the organization. Then we can look at our connections to others, until little by little, our work scales and expands across the organization.
Performance is process.