Helping People Win at Work–3 keys to stop evaluating and start coaching instead

Most workers do not feel that their employee performance reviews are valuable. That is what Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40 Company, discovered when he surveyed students in a business course he teaches at the University of San Diego.

The problem, according to Ridge, is that most performance systems are used for the wrong reasons. They are either arbitrary, conducted out of habit, or they are used just in case it is ever necessary to document evidence to fire someone. Ridge thinks that performance reviews should be used to develop people—not to evaluate them.

It’s a philosophy he shares with Ken Blanchard and which they wrote about in their book Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A.”

According to Blanchard and Ridge, managers need to move away from evaluating people and instead focus on coaching and helping people get A’s.  For managers ready to embrace coaching instead of evaluating, the two authors recommend the following three steps:

  1. Set clear goals. All good performance starts with clear goals. Make sure that objectives and performance standards are established.
  2. Provide day-to-day coaching. This is where a manager observes and monitors the performance of his or her people, praising progress and redirecting where necessary.
  3. No surprises at the annual review. The biggest difference in the Helping People Win at Work approach is that the annual review is not used as an end-of-the-year evaluation tool. Instead, it is used throughout the year as a guide to how managers and direct reports work together to help employees get A’s.

When you help people win at work, both the organization and the employees benefit.

As Ridge explains, “When employees have clear expectations, meaningful work, and day-to-day support, it impacts their level of engagement. At WD-40, our engagement number is 93%, which I believe is three times the average. It means that people come to work doing things that mean something to them, that they feel is making a difference in the world today, and that is developing them internally as well.

Download Free eBook version of Helping People Win at Work!

Between now and November 13, you can download a free Kindle copy of Helping People Win At Work from  Just click on the link above to see how you can download a free copy to your computer or mobile device.

9 thoughts on “Helping People Win at Work–3 keys to stop evaluating and start coaching instead

  1. Hi Kent,

    Great article! By the way, the “Download free eBook version of Helping People Win at Work!” only download a sample of the intro pages on Kindle….
    Is that correct?
    Thanks tons,

  2. Hi Kent!

    Great article!… as usual…
    By the way the “Download Free EBook version of Helping People win at Work! only downloads a free Sample of Intro pages of the book.
    Is that right?

    Thanks tons,

  3. Hi David,

    Thanks for your quick response.
    I´ve already download Kindle for PC, but cannot find any link to have the complete book on it but the first pages.
    Do you have any direct link I can click? Thanks for all, since I´m a new one on Kindle! =))
    Take care,

  4. Hi David, That´s maybe the problem… I´m accessing the link from Argentina, so I cannot see the USD0.00- option, the system asked me for card details, invoicing options, etc…
    Thanks anyway!

  5. Everyone seems to dislike employee reviews – both the employee and the employer. If the goals are clear then it makes it easier – particularly if there is communication between the reviews so that the employee is headed in the right direction. I think it’s also important to ask the employee how things are working out for them as well and give them an opportunity to address issues that they might have. The review process can work in both directions.

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