废除绩效考核 My appraisal of job appraisals: get rid of them
Last week an e-mail went round the office touting for suggestions on ways to improve our performance appraisal system. My suggestion is dead easy and dirt cheap: get rid of the whole thing and replace it with nothing at all.
Normally, if I have any bright ideas about how this newspaper could be managed better, I propose them in private. It is not seemly to wash the Financial Times' dirty linen in public. Yet when it comes to appraisals, the linen of every other company is covered with much the same filthy stains as ours, and so there seems no shame in suggesting a mass outing to the launderette.
Over the past 30 years, I have been appraised three dozen times – as banker, journalist and non-executive director. I've lived through the craze for long, complicated forms. I've also survived the informal fashion in which appraisals are called “career chats” and where a bogus air of equality prevails. I've done appraisals across a table, on a sofa, even over a meal. I've had them à deux and à trois – with a facilitator in tow.
过去30年，我先后以银行家、记者和非执行董事的身份，接受过30多次考核。我经历过 对又长又复杂的表格的抓狂，也见识过不拘礼节的形式：将考核称作是“职业闲谈”，而空气中弥漫着一股虚伪的平等气息。我曾在桌对面、沙发上、甚至就餐时接 受过考核，也曾在别人的陪同下，接受过一对二和一对三的考核。
But never have I learnt anything about myself as a result. I have never set any target that I subsequently hit. Instead I always feel as if I am playing a particularly dismal game of charades, with three disadvantages over the traditional parlour game. There is no dressing-up box; there is no correct answer to guess and it isn't remotely fun. The norm is a harrowing hour's conversation during which you are forced to swallow an indigestible mix of praise and criticism referring to long-ago events, which leaves you demotivated and confused on the most basic question: am I doing a good job? The resulting form is then put on file, making you feel vaguely paranoid, even though you know from experience how much attention will be subsequently paid to it: none whatsoever.
但我从未通过考核了解到自己的表现，也从未制定过后来得以实现的目标。相反，我总感觉 自己是在玩一种尤其沉闷的猜字游戏，这种游戏与传统的室内游戏相比有三大缺点：没有化妆盒；没有正确答案可供猜测；且毫无乐趣可言。通常做法是一个小时令 人倍感折磨的谈话，其间，你要强忍着不顺耳的褒贬杂陈，提到的还都是老早以前的事情。这会让你颇为沮丧，对最基本的一个问题都会产生困惑：我工作表现好 吗？之后填写的表格会存档，让你有些含糊的猜疑，尽管根据以往经验，你清楚这份表格以后会受到多大关注：根本没人去看。
At least I've only had to suffer one side of the process. I have never – thank goodness – had to appraise anyone else, which must be even more tiresome as you have to perform the same operation with each underling in turn, wearily letting people believe they are doing more or less okay, because it's too tiring to drop the bombshell that they aren't doing okay at all.
I have a friend in a large company who spends an entire month each year appraising her team. She says the system has been “improved” so that she no longer sorts people into “exceptional performers”, “good performers” and so on. Instead she works through a list of mysterious attributes – such as “leverages mastery” and “innovates holistically” – choosing three strengths and one development need (or weakness, as it was formerly known) for each.
我有一个朋友效力于一家大公司，每年要花整整一个月时间考核她的团队。她表示，考核体 系已有所“改进”，她不再将员工分为“杰出表现者”、“优秀表现者”等级别。相反，她通过一些令人费解的名词——例如“杠杆掌握”和“整体创新”——为每 个人选出三个优点和一个“发展需要”（以前的叫法是“不足”）。
She admits that this system – which applies to almost 100,000 people worldwide – is utterly idiotic. But when I suggest it be scrapped she looks shocked. “Out of the question,” she says. “That would be interpreted as us saying we don't care about developing people.”
Not by everyone, it seems. Last week Samuel Culbert, a business school professor in California, went on US radio to say that all appraisal systems were total baloney. He thinks even less of them than I do. They were a throwback to the bad old days of management by objective, he said, and only persisted because they allow evil managers to hold employees down and because HR managers are like the KGB when it comes to hoarding information.
看上去并不是所有人都这样认为。上周，美国加州大学商学院教授塞缪尔·卡尔伯特 (Samuel Culbert)在美国一个广播节目中表示，所有考核体系都是骗人的。他比我还鄙视它们。他表示，这些体系是倒退回过去那种糟糕的目标管理，之所以能延续 下去，就是因为它可以让邪恶的管理者压制员工，而在收集情报方面，人力资源经理就像是克格勃。
His alternative, which he describes in his new book Get Rid of the Performance Review, is that bosses and underlings should have regular, equal conversations during which the boss says things like: “What do you need from me to deliver what we are both on the firing line to produce?”
卡尔伯特在新书《取消绩效评估》(Get Rid of the Performance Review)中，阐述了他的替代措施——老板应该和下属定期进行平等谈话，并且该这样表达：“你需要我做些什么，以实现我们双方都必须完成的目标呢？”
This is a fantastic idea. The only trouble is that it bears no relation to the world as I know it; managers don't talk or think like that.
The most sinister thing about the current system is that it allows managers to delude themselves into thinking that they are managing their people.
With this delusion stripped away, some managers might take matters into their own hands. They might even start saying “that's good” and “that's not so good” at the only helpful time to say such things: when they have just happened. This sort of thing is called managing, and the beauty of it is that it makes formal appraisals quite unnecessary.
Even for those whose managers did nothing to fill the gap, there would still be a net gain from scrapping appraisals. Time and energy would be saved and the only two things lost would be cynicism and paranoia.