by Michael Holland     

The depth and breadth of a well prepared performance review is directly proportional to the amount of information you have on the employee for the whole period of time.  Tracking employee progress between reviews is something every leader is doing – well, every leader should be doing.  The question is always to what extent is the information readily available, which pivots on how you as a leader actually accumulate pertinent employee information over time.

I’ve been using Evernote, an online content management tool, to manage many aspects of my information management needs.  The tool allows me to drive all sorts of information into a database, from directly typing notes to forwarding emails to copying and pasting web-based information.  The information can be filtered into notebooks and tagged for easy research.

In particular, I use the notebook’s structure to handle each of the executives I coach, allowing me to keep track of our meetings outcomes, agreements on objectives, email updates on activity, etc.  I type short notes from my smartphone as well as send emails directly to people’s notebooks.   At times I find pertinent online tools/articles which I want to use with a certain executive and can directly add those items to the notebooks.  After coaching sessions, I scan my hand written notes directly into the executive’s notebook.

In my experience, leaders too often look back at performance over too short a period of time, losing the perspective of “the trend line” of performance, either up or down.  I believe the nexus of the problem is the lack of good information to review the activities over time.  Maybe you’ve been great at managing your employee information.  If not, maybe a new tool can motivate you to gain ground in this leadership activity.