I’ve been filling out performance reviews for years. And each one is a mind-numbing waste of time. Why is this? These systems try to wrench us onto established pathways (invariably artificial) so that we can be measured. They demand structured data, and most of the value we create—our ideas, and our relationships inside the company and out—is marvelously unstructured. It doesn’t fit into boxes (anymore than the value of a company is reflected by its org chart).
Not surprisingly, powerhouses in search and computer science, like Google and IBM, are figuring out ways to come to grips with our unstructured data. They can analyze our social networks, the e-mails that are written about us, the percentage of time that teams we’re on outperform the average.