Performance Review Classics Character

Performance Management

Cannes Award, 2015, Gold, Performance Review Code Red

Your line managers can turn every difficult review into a positive, productive experience.

The actors are – perhaps somewhat excessively – authentic. And this is what makes the film exceptional.


With our help, your line managers will learn the techniques required for effective performance reviews, even with the most difficult-to-manage staff; so they can turn every difficult appraisal into a positive, productive experience.

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Available as video or e-learning courses

Getting prepared

Performance review is a cyclical process. Always give advance notice and review case history.

Discussing issues openly

Give constructive criticism. Identify learning needs.

Listening to the evidence

Discussing the results, Base the review on performance not personality

Agreeing a plan of action

Set SMART objectives. Agree an update.


Three classic management mistakes. The first manager never prepares or makes time; the second is too fond of the sound of their own voice; and the third is too uncomfortable to hint at any criticism, for fear of creating bad feeling.

Managing Performance Everyday:

People management skills

Show managers how to get the best out of people every day, not just following a review meeting. Meet David and Louise… David is laid back, lacks consistency and is unclear about what he expects as a manger. Louise is highly organised but does not involve her team.

The Problem That Needs Putting Right

Show managers how to get the best out of people every day, not just following a review meeting. Meet David and Louiseā€¦ David is laid back, lacks consistency and is unclear about what he expects as a manger. Louise is highly organised but does not involve her team.


Clarity is about setting and agreeing clear expectations – what you want and why. Managers need to define parameters so that people are clear about: What is required; When it needs to be done; Who needs to do it.


Collaboration means working together toward a common goal and being part of a team as opposed to working separately or competitively. Good or bad collaboration determines how teams get things done. Collaborating with your team toward objectives is easy if you put your heads together. People don’t like to feel shut out and a collaborative approach, rather than a ‘them and us’ approach, is important in managing performance.

Consistency, Coaching and Constructive Feedback

It is about ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and recognised/rewarded on the basis of what they contribute. Consistency is: Avoiding favouritism; “Walking the talk”; Being consistent in your communication with people; Treating people fairly and with the respect they deserve.

Constructive Feedback

It is a two-way process – the manager must be honest while the employee must be willing to act on advice. Positive feedback = praise. Constructive feedback = advice. The best managers are open and honest with their staff and give constructive feedback. They avoid taking the ‘ostrich’ approach; this gives their staff a better idea of how they are doing and if there are any issues.


The 5 Cs: Clarity, Constructive feedback. Consistency. Collaboration. Coaching.

An Introduction To Praise

Praising is not a natural gift but a learnable skill. Done well it can be powerful, cheap and easy to use management tool. Managers that use praise effectively create more motivate and productive teams. John Cleese takes us through six easily-remembered rules.

Manager Misconceptions

How not to give praise.

A Lack of Praise

Recognise the benefits of praise and also the reasons why it is often not used as much as it should be.

Praise in Practice

Pass it on. Put in on record. Make it public.


Applying the seven golden rules of giving praise.

An Introduction To Criticism

Constructive criticism with John Cleese. Criticism is an essential part of a manager’s responsibilities but, done badly, it can make things worse.


Quickly, face-to-face, in private.


Agree the facts. Ask and listen. Criticise the action not the person.

Fear Of Criticism

Getting in the right frame of mind and avoiding a passive or aggressive approach to criticism.

Get A Resolution

Explain why it matters and agree a remedy. End on a compliment.

The Purpose of the Performance Review

Performance, not personalities. Whatever we think about someone’s personality, we are unlikely to be able to change it in one relatively short discussion. What we can change is behaviour, which means concentrating on performance.

Getting People to Open Up

Structure the meeting. Decide on the main performance areas you want to talk about. These may come from the job description, as in Alan’s case, or they may be objectives you have agreed at the beginning of the review period, or they may be a set of competences

Facing Up to the Problem

Focus on the facts: First, resisting the temptation to get sucked into irrelevant discussions. Secondly, nail down generalisations. Encourage self-appraisal.

Agreeing a Plan for the Future

Agree measurable targets. Set review dates. Reviews should be part of a continuing process of improvement. That means agreeing targets, reviewing them and learning from how they have gone.


Sharon Horgan demonstrates key strategies to turn every difficult review into a positive, productive experience; for both manager and employee.

Actions and Review

Confirm action points and agree review dates.


Performance Review encourages people to think about reviews in a new, more positive way. Every Appraisee’s Dream gives a full and vivid illustration of just what can be achieved from a successful review.

The Future

Have a clear vision for the future.


Prepare information to show what you have done over the past year.

The Present

Prepare to answer questions about your present situation.

An Introduction to Performance Review

Appraisal should be a positive, challenging experience that helps individuals to improve their performance, managers to manage better and makes organisations more attractive and productive places in which to work.

Bolshie Becky

Control the agenda and summarise at appropriate points.

Defensive Dennis

Leave out the character analysis. The quickest way to start a row is to make unsubstantiated remarks about personalities.

Weepy Wendy

No surprises. Emotional reactions during appraisal discussions, whether tears or anger or astonishment, often arise because appraisers spring something on appraisees that they were not expecting.

Non-stick Nigel

Pin him to his performance. It is essential to have thoroughly prepared sufficient detailed information about a Nigel’s performance to prevent him from wriggling free.

Bored Betty

Use forms as a starting box, not a finishing post. Talk to the person behind the employee. Discuss long term development, not just short-term targets.

Silent Steve

Don’t butt in. Good appraisers ask questions and then bite their tongues! And they avoid answering their own questions. Give them time to talk. A little bit of silence will often produce an answer, even from Silent Steve, particularly if it is accompanied by an encouraging facial expression.


Practical tips for managers who know the importance of performance review, but find them fairly painful to do.

Giving criticism

Giving Criticism:

Are you criticising me?

The right way, and wrong way, to criticise constructively.

Beyond the review meeting

Beyond The Review Meeting:

I can't, I'll be in Magaluf

Agree and review a plan of action.

Sharing praise

Sharing Praise:

Praise be!

Do it. Do it quickly. Don’t put a sting in the tail.

Making a performance diagnosis

Making A Performance Diagnosis:

Diagnosis Performance

Listen to evidence and agree on the diagnosis. Face up to problem areas.

Preparing for a review

Preparing For A Review:

Know your facts

Get all the information you need; like previous review notes, achievements against targets and job descriptions.

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Mark Helen Baxendale
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