Quarterly Review Formats for Employees

Last week I was reading the excellent Iacocca: An Autobiography of Lee Iacocca — one of my favorite book genres is life adventures of people who created or changed an industry. Here, the stories are superb, and one of the comments by Iacocca caught my attention. The author writes:

If our stockholders had a quarterly review system, why shouldn’t our executives?…I’ve asked my key people a few basic questions:

What are your objectives for the next ninety days?

What are your plans, your priorities, your hopes?

And how do you intend to go about achieving them?

Now, the book was published in 1984. 1984! When I started my entrepreneurial career full-time in the early 2000s, people were still talking about annual reviews. Annual reviews never made sense to me. A year was much too long of a time frame with most of the review comments being the current, top-of-mind items.

When we were building Pardot, and working towards establishing our company as one of the top market automation platforms, we modeled our quarter review process based on a variation of Patrick Lencioni’s recommendations. Everyone answered the following questions in a simple Google Doc and shared it with their manager and direct reports:

What did you accomplish last quarter?

What are you going to accomplish next quarter?

How can you improve?

How are you following the values?

Simple. Effective. Repeatable. Regardless of the quarterly review format used, it’s important to develop a rhythm that aligns the team and focuses everyone on the mission.

Figure out what your team needs and consider these two different approaches to the quarterly review process.

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