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🔑 Why Feedback & Performance Evaluation is So Hard | ft. Building Better Games

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Hello GameMakers,

In my entire career, I have yet to work at a company in which feedback and performance evaluation was done well.

At some companies, they are done ok, but IMHO, most companies do them poorly or, in the best scenario, mediocre.

Ben Carcich and Aaron Smith run the excellent Better Building Games podcast and operate a game development consulting practice called Valarin.

Ben and Aaron are super thoughtful, well-intentioned, and responsible leaders who have worked with some of the best in the games industry. They join me in a deep discussion which I am certain you will find useful!

Feedback and performance evaluation are essential for any team or organization to improve. Hence, don’t miss out on this critical discussion; link below.

How To Do It Better?

At most companies, feedback is often viewed as an attack, and performance evaluation is viewed as a chore that is often gamed and skewed by relationships and politics.

Even further, many companies can no longer give honest feedback in a culture and environment which Ben calls “toxic kindness.”

As the CEO of a startup that critically needs to improve quickly for us to be successful, this question of feedback and performance evaluation has become critical.

In the conversation with Ben and Aaron, I brought up several profound and deep questions:

  • How can companies “flip the script” on how feedback is perceived?
  • What informal and formal systems should be implemented for feedback and performance evaluation?
  • How should managers customize or adapt feedback to different kinds of people?
  • How can companies set up systems to proactively reduce the requirement for feedback?
  • What are their thoughts on some primary methodologies used for performance evaluation, such as skills evaluation, performance targets, OKRs, and stack ranking?

Check out this conversation!

▶️ Feedback & Performance Evaluation

🎧 Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or Anchor



0:00 Intro

3:50 Why feedback and performance evaluation is so bad at companies, toxic kindness

10:16 How to flip the script on feedback, why feedback is viewed negatively

14:45 Misunderstanding of psychological safety

19:40 Formal systems vs. informal systems

27:00 What did you say when you told them?

30:15 Why informal systems are more effective

30:45 How to optimize feedback delivery, shit sandwich, and Impact model

40:00 How to proactively prevent having to give feedback, the importance of setting expectations

45:44 Reducing feedback because feedback is overhead

48:40 Some people can’t give feedback

53:18 Techniques to train people to give feedback – this takes time!

56:45 Time + risk of training someone to give feedback, are you creating a team-wide problem?

57:17 Performance evaluation

58:15 Importance of performance evaluation and how it can be counter-productive

1:00:40 Thinking about performance evaluation from foundational objectives

1:07:00 How to set up a performance evaluation system for your company

1:12:00 Different types of performance evaluation systems: Skills vs. performance targets vs. OKRs vs. stack ranking

1:28:58 Start, Stop, Continue

1:31:40 How to keep performance evaluation systems uniform

1:46:10 Final words of advice and contacting Ben and Aaron