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Performance Appraisal: assets or liabilities?

After some years discussing around with a lot of different people about performance appraisal and at the same time working for the financial sector, I had an epiphany some days ago: we, as professionals, are also either assets or liabilities to our companies.

At the first sight, it sounds a bit rude and offensive, but let’s face reality: or one is currently adding value, sharing knowledge, producing and moving things forward and thus being an asset, or is consuming support from other assets at some level, being a liability.

Based on this rule, is easier to understand why people refrain from changing: it’s just painful to feel like a liability, specially if you’re being an asset for a long time.

On the other hand, is also important to notice that everyone, at some point during his professional life, was a liability. It’s natural to require support when jumping into an unknown project. The key factor is how long oneself takes from being a liability into an asset: my experience tells me that, as fast as one cross the border from the debit into credit side, as successful the professional will be.

Taking this approach for granted, the questions that comes next are:

  • Are we assets or liabilities?
  • Why we consider this?
  • What can we do to reduce our / our team’s liabilities?

To support this analysis, would be good to have some guidelines on how to identify an asset or a liability. It’s fairly easy, actually:

  • Liabilities ask for assistance, assets assist;
  • Liabilities raise problems, assets find solution;
  • Liabilities build walls, assets build bridges;
  • Liabilities are questions, assets are answers.

When people joins a new project, they tend to need at least some level of guidance. Being a liability when joining a new project is completely normal and expected. The key factor here is how long a professional takes to flourish from a liability into an asset. This single information alone, if was available as a hard deliverable, could become a key factor for professional evaluation.

Now, do you know how much assets and how much liabilities do you have beneath you? Do you know how long you’re willing to wait for the transition? What are you doing to promote this transition?

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