Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2013

# Surprise finish to my Athletic Career – Scoring lessons for appraisals

I remember the cold, foggy mornings of October 1984 when our Physical Education teacher, Ms Agbodja, first started putting us through jogging on the fields of Irene Anderson House at Metico, the compound for housing Form 1 students of Aburi Girls Secondary School in those days. Those were difficult mornings of waking up at 4am, an hour and a half before everyone, running out into the cold, and going endlessly round the field until you were told to stop. Surprisingly, it was through this that I discovered I was an 800 metre runner!

My life as an athlete then begun. I was soon selected to the athletics team of Barradale House, and as I competed every year, I gained more speed and could do 400 metres in addition to the 800 metres. I remember I really got emboldened by this success and tried some 200 metre races, as well as 100 metres. However, I flopped at this time! In my last competition at school in the sixth form, I ended up being last in one of my last races, unthinkable!!! For someone who had almost always been the top or among the top athletes for 400 and 800 metre races, this was a complete anti-climax to my exit from the school.

Scoring your team members in an appraisal is just like rating athletes in a competition. Their objectives are the races they have to run. In giving them a score on their objectives, it is not just about the arithmetic of giving scores and averaging them to get a final score. Having had first hand experience over 6 years, I would like to share with you a step-by-step approach to scoring:

In a race, you either won or you didn’t win, you either came second, third or last. There is no middle ground such as “second point fifths”. In the same way, when rating in an appraisal, avoid using decimals Make up your mind firmly and choose one whole number or the other.

In order to arrive at a score, you would rate the individual team member against their own objectives. Once you have discussed what they achieved, the behaviours by which they achieved it, and what they did not do so well about that target, just:

o Read the rating scale (may be 1 – 5, 1-7 etc.) and what each score stands for

o Ask yourself whether the person met each of the sub- objectives you set for each major target. Then consider whether they did their work according to the rules. Did they ensure that all compliance issues were met, and did they apply the company values to their work ? It is on the basis of this that you award a score for that target.

For the overall score, look again at whether the person met each of the objectives. Behaviours (that display values) are very critical in arriving at the overall score. As an athlete, you could be stripped of all titles if you are caught doping ( which is the Sport equivalent of integrity as a value ). This fate has befallen countless sports men and women, such as American track and field star Marion Jones, whose 3 gold and 2 bronze medals won at the 2000 Sydney Games in Australia were withdrawn and re-assigned, in addition to being slapped with a 6-month prison sentence!

Another key question to ask would be what the individual’s contribution is to the overall team performance? If the team has done well, how much of it can be attributed to this individual in terms of their direct contribution or supporting other team members?

The fact that an individual is the best on their team does not mean they are the best everywhere. That is why the first rating you assign as a manager is a draft, and a final rating is done only when you have sat with other managers of the department to compare among peers and find out who really scores what. Many times, I was the best 800 and 400 metre runner in my school, but no match at all to athletes from other schools during the Annual Inter-Colleges Athletics Competition.

Remember, SCORING in an appraisal is about taking into account both the quantitative achievement and the qualitative behaviours, as well as results, and the OVERALL PICTURE that this gives.

By Jane Ohenewa Gyekye