review_image-1As we approach the end of the year, annual performance reviews are on the horizon for many companies. Why do we do these types of routine assessments? Because as business leaders, we genuinely believe that if we invest time and attention into human capital, we will generate better business results. But many of us “check the box” when it comes to reviews, and miss out on a big opportunity to improve the individual and collective performance of our teams. For practical tips on how to make the most of end-of-year reviews, we sat down with Bill Macaux, our SVP of Executive Development, and Sarah Woods, our SVP of Global Consulting.

Q: How can organizations get the most value out of end-of-year reviews?

A: (Bill Macaux): When we’ve given people performance feedback, there is a short window of opportunity to make an impact. If you’ve given the feedback with candor and thoughtfulness, you’ve aroused motivation. That motivation may be an eagerness to learn, or it may be an eagerness to close a gap that someone is worried about in their personal development. For whatever reason, at that moment, that individual is attentive and engaged at looking at things that have been identified as opportunities for development.

Q: How do performance ratings come into play?

A: (Sarah Woods): Whether it’s a numerical rating, or a pre-defined category of performance, most companies organize performance metrics into a formal calibration score-card that measures progress at the mid-year and end of year cycle. . For the leader receiving the review, this can define the type of results they should strive for, but now how to achieve them. In this case,  an assessment tool can help leaders pinpoint their areas for development and create a clear roadmap for  improving their scores.

Q: How do you seize the moment and leverage the feedback in your review right away?

A: (Bill Macaux): If you allow too much time to lapse, the spark of inspiration becomes cold. You have to reignite it. If you wait until the new year has begun, and the person is facing a barrage of all that he or she will be measured on, the individual will be much more task focused and taken by the urgency of the moment. What we’ve found is that it’s a good idea to help people identify their development themes, but also to identify ways in which they take action.

Final thoughts: Our new executive presence assessment, the ExPI™, is designed to pinpoint specific leadership strengths and weaknesses that impact your ability to engage, inspire, align, and move people to act. Reviews are designed to assess your effectiveness in the organization, but they often leave you without a clear path for improvement. A tool like the ExPI helps you get beyond “I know it when I see it” types of conversations and helps you measure your effectiveness more concretely. For more information on the ExPI, visit our website at

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