drive a car, do we look around and check our surroundings? Do we look behind
and to the sides? Do we check our rear-view and side mirrors? And do we look up
and ahead toward where we want to go? These are rhetorical questions. The real
question is whether we get stuck looking in the rear-view mirror more than
through the front windshield.
As the end
of 2019 draws nigh, some of us have been looking back and reflecting on the
past year. Whereas we cannot change history, we can learn from it. But if we
don’t learn from history then we are doomed to repeat it. Moreover, some have
asserted that we need to look backward in order to move forward. While we should review and reflect on the past, we should not
get stuck and dwell in the past. The LORD Jesus said: “No one who puts a hand to
the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” When He said, “looks back” (βλέπων εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω), Jesus used the word ὀπίσω (Strong’s G3694) for “back” or “backward,” indicating looking
at the things which are behind. This is the same word that the apostle Paul used when he instructed the Philippians to forget what is behind and to strain forward to what is ahead (τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθανόμενος τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενος). Furthermore, the Greek word Paul used for “forget” is ἐπιλανθανόμενος (Strong’s G1950). In the context of
Philippians 3:13, this evokes the notion of “putting aside from your
mind” and “no
longer care for.”
Most of us
don’t drive looking in the rear-view mirror, although we do check it. We look
upfront at where we want to go. Rather than spinning our wheels, we get
traction on our actions. Thus, once we have learned from our past then we move
on and ahead, stretching
forward to the
are before us. Thence, Paul exhorted: “I press on toward the goal to win
the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, once
we put our hands, our hearts, and turn our heads forward, let’s strive to what
Albeit we review the past, we are no longer living
in the past. However, we can apply our lessons learned for the future,
mitigating the faux pas and leveraging
the benefits. Regarding reviews there
has been some contention concerning the “annual performance review” exercise, be it in the corporate
business context such as the so-called secular marketplace or in the Christian
ministry context such as the sacred sanctum of the local church. Having been a
participant – both as a recipient and as a deliverer – in performance reviews, in
both contexts I have these observations. Some have experienced a feeling of
“intimidation” during a performance review; this includes both the supervisor
and the subordinate. Some reviews entail tough conversations and could be
confrontational. Morale could be damaged. Attrition could ensue. Some have
sensed the apprehension of being ranked among peers, and being “graded on the
curve,” which could affect rewards and create a competitive culture of
infighting. We are reminded that even the LORD’s disciples had vied for prestigious positions;
even their mother was engaged in the lobbying.
Perhaps we need to be more like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet.
organizations have transformed their thinking with a renewal of their mind.
Instead of undertaking performance reviews
they are proactively doing performace
previews. This approach looks ahead to what
is needed for the worker to perform well, and to strive for excellence in
whatever they do. The preview discussion would address WHAT goals and deliverables are
expected and HOW they can be achieved, including the necessary personal
development objectives to enable them to be successful. Some groups have
implemented a “check-in” process whereby the supervisor and
subordinate check-in with each other on a regular basis throughout the year
instead of toward the end of the year (e.g., annual check-up) and be surprized.
Real-time (i.e., current and timely) and ongoing (i.e., regular and periodic)
feedback provides course correction and guidance as the worker navigates along
the way rather than at the end of the journey.
Is the Annual Performance Review Being
No More Performance Reviews: Will it
Succeed or Backfire?
As the start of 2020 draws nigh, let us count our many
blessings and make our blessings count. Let us look forward to the new year, and may we act as
a conduit through which God’s blessings flow to others. Let’s not be fixated on
the things behind. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes
on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Don’t drive by just looking in the rear-view mirror. Look
UP and ahead.