The Performance Conversation Phil Kenkel Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair

The Performance Conversation
Phil Kenkel
Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair
Evaluating performance is a critical responsibility for both managers and boards. The formal
evaluation system is an important tool. Another, aspect of the process, and one that receives less
attention, is the performance conversation. Performance conversations can and should be
implemented throughout the year, for example, on a quarterly basis. The performance
conversation provides a context for a two-way discussion on the success in achieving the
cooperative’s goals and personal goals. Part of the conversation should focus on identifying
impediments for success. For example, during a performance evaluation with the CEO the board
should discuss what the manager needs from the board. That element helps to make it a forward
looking process and a two way conversation. Regular performance conversations are compatible
with and complementary to formal performance appraisals. The performance appraisal provides
a measurement of success and a means of developing formal goals. It is an essential tool, but by
its very nature, it looks back at past activity. The format is not always conducive to a two way
dialog. The performance conversation can be less formal, more frequent and more participatory.
Make a resolution to have better performance conversations in the New Year.