Why a Duo-Review:  Traditionally both managers and employees hate reviews.  They tend to feel icky.  There is such a power differential that it feels very condescending for the employee (“subordinate”) and very uncomfortable for the empathetic manager (“superior.”)    Instead a review should be something that both the manager and the employee look forward to.  Here’s the time and space to have a real deal, candid, appreciative, constructive conversation.

Rule #1:  Do not talk about compensation – separate the raise conversation from the duo-review.  The employee should know ahead of time that compensation will not be part of the conversation.  When a review includes compensation 1) you have the Charlie Brown teacher effect in which the employee doesn’t truly hear a word that you’ve said until you get to the part about compensation 2) an employee will never challenge your constructive feedback when a raise is on the line, hence it’s not really an open, honest conversation.

Rule #2:  Do not wait until a review to address ugly issues.  These issues should be dealt with as soon as possible.  There should be no ugly surprises in a duo-review.

Rule #3:  Conduct reviews when you say you will conduct them.  Basic integrity to the process is critical for setting the stage.  Schedule them and keep them sacred.  We recommend every 6 months.

FYI:  The Duo-Review assumes you have another process for developing quarterly SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals.

Creating the Space:  Create a space of equal vulnerability where a candid conversation can take place.  The intention should be clear:  to learn from one another what you appreciate and what you can improve upon in order to create a better relationship and more success in the workplace.  (Setting aside rainbows and unicorns, it will never truly be equal vulnerability simply because one has the power to hire and fire while the other does not.  However the intention of the manager to be truly open to hear constructive feedback is critical.)

Where to hold the Duo-Review:  Hold the duo-review in a neutral space – so not in your office, perhaps in a conference room or go for a walk, or grab lunch or coffee outside of the office.  If you have a particularly sticky topic to address consider staying in a private setting. 

Preparation for the Duo-Review:

For the Manager:

  1. What I appreciate about working with you is…
  2. You could be a better employee (could replace with title) by… (no more than 3)
  3. Be prepared to ask “How can I be a better manager?”
  4. Be prepared to say something along the lines of  “I heard what you said and trust your intentions, thank you J”

For the Employee:

  1. What I appreciate about working with you is…
  2. You could be a better manager by… (no more than 3)
  3. Be prepared to ask “How can I be a better employee (title)?”
  4. Be prepared to say something along the lines of “I heard what you said and trust your intentions, thank you J”

How the conversation should go:  with manager starting each section and the employee finishing…

  1. What you appreciate about one another
  2. Ask how you can be a better manager/employee
  3. Telling one another what you heard the other one say they appreciated and could see for improvement, (if true) that you trust their intentions and thanking them for their candor
  4. Ask clarifying questions and find out what help, support or guidance may be needed
  5. Say what each is committed to doing in the next 6 months to keep in alignment with what’s working and improve in the areas suggested