Category Archives: Management

Annual Reviews – Knock It Out of the Park

The Game

I recently had a conversation regarding scoring of annual reviews. It was said that the description of “Meets Expectations” is that you are a professional ball player and you are hitting runs and pitching strikes everyday like you should be, because you are a professional. The source went on to state that “Exceeds Expectations” means that you are hitting home runs every day, getting cheers from the stands, etc.

I agree and disagree with this, but let’s just keep the baseball in it. This is how I would do it:



My thoughts on your work

Co-workers thoughts



Superior Performance

There is no box. You consistently deliver and astonish me every time.

They are all baffled as to why you haven’t moved up yet.

You belong in the baseball hall of fame.


Exceeds Expectations

You do things as well as I would have done them. You go the extra mile.

They see your work and look up to you. They ask you for help and guidance.

You are a great player. People are wearing your jersey.


Meets Expectations

You do what I hired you to do.

They know you do your job and deserve to be there.

You play the game and are a team player.


Needs Improvement

I wonder if you were really qualified for the job. I have to watch you too closely.

They think you will eventually be weeded out.

We’re sending you to the minors.


Poor Performance

I think I made a wrong decision hiring you and am thinking about letting you go.

Nobody wants to work with you. You are the weakest link and they know it.

You should have never been a baseball player.


Coaches – Play the Same Game and Be Coaches

It is not fair if one manager is harder on his/her employees than the other managers. Review the table above or make your own. Make sure you are all on the same page prior to filling out your reviews. In addition, proactively review this with your direct reports every year so that they completely understand your expectations.

When you sit down with a direct report for an annual review, have a plan for the next year to accompany it.

  • Clearly Defined Goals along with your expectations
  • Updated Job Description
  • Training Plan including roadmap technologies for the next year

Don’t just be their boss – be their mentor. When your employees succeed, you succeed. Help them do it.

If your next raise was solely dependent on reviews from your employees, would you treat them differently?

Players – Own the Crowd and Bring Your Game

Be the kid that always gets picked during dodge ball. Make people want to be on your team. Be the guy/girl that gets stuff done and mentors others. Be passionate about what you do. If you have something to complain about, bring a plan to fix it and be prepared to own that plan.

Don’t stroll into your annual review unprepared and spend the entire hour being defensive of you work. Where’s your offense? Have your goals printed out with comments on how you exceeded their expectations.

I keep a list of achievements up to date in case someone asks what I have done for them lately.

I also keep a list of training that I have completed, whether it be on my own time or theirs.

Documenting your achievements will make them clear to everyone and give you a view into your own performance that you may not have seen before.


What We’ve Learned

As managers we need to discuss reviews with our peers, make our expectations known to our employees and help our employees succeed.

As employees we need to realize that everyone could possibly have input to our reviews. Our customers, our direct reports, other managers. Make sure that if someone asked you “What have you done for us lately?” that you could hand them a long list.

Now play ball!