On Wednesday, I made the case for why enhanced evaluations are the lynchpin to high performance. I wrote that post targeting Toastmasters, knowing that there’s carry over to the real world. Today, in a similar fashion, it’s my intention to outline how to improve evaluations for Toastmasters and carry those lessons over as well.
When we improve our level of feedback, everything else improves as well, here are the elements that I believe exist in every great evaluation:
Without question, the hardest part of giving a great evaluation is telling someone something they don’t want to hear. It’s so hard, in fact, that most evaluators skip that part altogether. But in trying to spare someone’s feelings, we end up stunting their growth as well as that of the club.
I like to relate honest evaluations with bad Christmas gifts. We all have that person in our life that continues to get us bad Christmas gifts. The aren’t giving us bad gifts on purpose, they give them because we haven’t told them that their bad gifts. If someone gives you a bad gift once, it’s their fault. If it happens again, it’s on you because you didn’t speak up. If we want a speaker to grow, and improve, we have to be honest with them about their faults.
One of the biggest reasons that evaluations aren’t helpful is that the evaluator measures performance of the speaker against others in the club. There is no growth in this. Instead, we should measure performance against personal potential.
This means we have to have some really hard conversations with the speaker before the meeting even starts. Find out what their goals are, what they’re hoping to achieve not only with this project but in toastmasters in general. This will give us a basis to evaluate the speaker in ways that will help them grow.
The same is true in the corporate world. Until we truly understand the goals of the person we are reviewing we cannot give helpful feedback. Make it personal to make it meaningful.
Of all of the elements, this may be the most crucial. No one likes to receive negative feedback. Everyone likes to believe that they’re doing awesome at everything. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to remind them otherwise. It’s our job. We have to be honest, or we aren’t helping them. But that doesn’t mean that they should walk away feeling as if they’ve failed.
A great evolution is more than a sandwich; something positive/ something negative/ something positive. A great evaluation inspires the speaker to reach their potential. It’s a reminder that they add value, that they are awesome, that they can be great, they simply have to make some improvements. We must remind the person that we’re evaluating that the reason we point out areas for growth is because they’re capable of growing. We must be inspirational in our evaluations.
In the corporate world, this is also crucial. If someone walks out of a review believing they are incapable of meeting the standards, they never will. Yes, we must push them to grow, yes, we must be honest, but we also must inspire them to live up to their potential.
Enhanced evaluations are the lynchpin to high performance. When we improve our evaluations, we improve every other area of performance, but we have, to be honest, make it personal and inspire our members to be their best. Doing these things not only builds a better speaker but a better club as well.