Performance Management Exercises

  1. Applying SMART Goals

Follow the process described on Table 6.1 in Section 6.2 of the LearnSmark book) to write an important goal at school work and state it here.
Make it “SMART” by being sure that it is: specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented, and time bound. Refine it further still by assuring that it begins with “To __,” and pay particular attention to how it will be measured.


With the goal you created above, apply at least 2 of the recommendations from Table 6.2 to increase your commitment to that goal.

Identify key obstacles:
Identify benefits to achieving the goal:
Break the larger goal into smaller goals:
Organize your next 2 steps toward completing the goal:


Zappos employees are not only allowed but encouraged to personalize their workspaces. This aligns with the company’s values—create fun and a little weirdness—and is believed to foster excellent customer service.

One of the key elements that enables Zappos to have rock star status with its customers and more than 1,400 employees is the company’s approach to performance management. The company puts an extremely high premium on feedback, which it sees as fundamental to continuous improvement.

Form of Feedback Managers are explicitly instructed to provide only instructional feedback (such as the amount of time spent on calls with customers), not evaluative feedback. It is presented as, for instance, the number of times the manager witnessed a particular desirable behavior. The managers must give specific examples of the behavior.

Linked to Values These behaviors, and thus the feedback, are directly linked to the company’s 10 core values—deliver WOW through service, embrace and drive change, create fun and a little weirdness, be creative and open-minded, pursue growth and learning, build open and honest relationships with communication, build a positive team and family spirit, do more with less, be passionate and determined, be humble. The company’s performance management and associated feedback are all driven by and based on these values.

Use and Frequency of Feedback The company no longer does once-a-year reviews. Instead managers are expected to provide feedback and recognize employees continually, as they exhibit particular behaviors. This means managers decide how frequently to offer input. Moreover, “these assessments are not used for promotion, pay, or disciplinary purposes. Rather, their purpose is simply to provide feedback on how employees are perceived by others.”

Not Meeting Expectations? If someone’s performance is not up to standards, the company provides a number of free, on-site courses aimed at skill building and improvement.


  1. What are the advantages to the Zappos approach to feedback?
  2. What disadvantages are possible?
  3. Explain why you would or would not want to be an employee with such a PM system.
  4. Assume you are a manager at Zappos. What are the pros and cons of this system for you?
  5. What is my desire for performance feedback?

Take Self-Assessment 6.1: What is my desire for performance feedback? After, please answer the following questions:

Think of a recent instance where you were given feedback by somebody. Describe that piece of feedback here. NOTE: You do not have to say what the exact feedback was, just describe what it was about. For example, it is acceptable to say, “I received feedback about my performance on my recent final exam in the Spring 2020 semester” instead of, “My manager told me I was getting a low performance rating because I wasn’t good at my job.”

Describe a specific way your desire for feedback (i.e., your score) helps (or hurts) you in college? At work?

Given your score, think of how you can improve your receptiveness for feedback. You might choose to talk about how you would think about the person giving feedback, the nature of the feedback itself, what you can do about it, etc.

  1. Applying Knowledge of My Preferred Rewards

Take Self-Assessment 6.2: What rewards do I value most? After, please answer the following questions:

Which rewards in the list are extrinsic? Intrinsic?

Do your personal top five most-valued items contain more intrinsic or extrinsic rewards?

What are your three most valued from the list?

Assume you are job hunting. How can you determine whether a given company provides the three rewards you value most? You many talk about people or places you could observe or find information about a company’s rewards.

Sample Solution