One Simple Secret in Making Good Reviews

Importance in Giving/Receiving Reviews

ISAO’s Super Flat management, which puts value in openness and fairness, promotes empowerment in individuals and each has responsibility to make decisions of what they do.

This is because ISAO believes it important to shorten the decision-making process in order to accelerate the business.

Because the person in charge make decisions and proceed the work quickly, it is quite important for the people around to give feedback from an objective perspective that the person didn’t have.

The Super Flat Decision Making Vs. Hierarchical Decision Making

Although it is often misunderstood, Super Flat decision making doesn’t mean “you can do whatever you like.”
Just like done in the traditional hierarchical organizations, with persons involved, we do hold discussions, asking for assistance, and making decisions on consensus.

Therefore, at ISAO, small meetings are often held at everywhere, whenever needed.

The great difference between existing organizations is having reviewers who can contribute to the project with essential and objective perspectives, instead of always having the same reviewers who are usually at managerial positions. Leaving final decisions to the persons in charge is how things work in Super Flat Organization.

Most Reviewers in the Companies are NOT Making Contributions

In many companies, managers will naturally hold the positions of the reviewer and decision-maker in the department.

However, those managers are not asked if they have enough qualifications as a reviewer, namely, if they are involved in the project or contributing to the project.

What is worse, they might be making negative contribution.

Three Kinds of Reviewers Who Don’t Make Contribution

In the cases in below, reviewers can be said to be making negative effect:

Those Who Don’t Have Sufficient Project-literacy

This type or reviewers often says, “Explain it to me in the way I understand.”
Usually, reviewers have longer experience in business, and therefore, they have general business literacy on business profit and loss, and on organization management, etc.

However, the fact that they don’t have the minimum technical knowledge required to understand the project conceptually makes it quite difficult for them to fulfill their roles as reviewers.

A solution for the reviewer is to leave the judgement involving technical issues and transfers the authority; however, if the reviewer tries to make decisions with insufficient understanding, there would be a risk to make mistakes.

When the reviewers make poor decisions and force the subordinates to follow them based only on their managerial positions, both the competitiveness and motivation of the employees will be lost.

Of course, reviewers do not necessarily need to have the same level of technical understanding; however, if they want to participate in technical decision makings, they must reach a certain level of project-literacy beforehand.

Those Who Ask to Make Time-consuming Documents Just for Them to Understand

If the reviewers do not fully understand the project, they need document and explanation to help them understanding.
It is to waste time to make meeting materials just for the reviewer’s understanding and not contribution to the business.

Moreover, some reviewers find fault with smallest things saying, “the document is not good” and make people redo the task; needless to say, this is a worse case.

Those Who Waste Time and Resource by Giving Unnecessary Orders with Authority

All that’s really necessary should, of course, be done, but there are a lot that can be shortened by skillful conduct, such as in-house procedures.

However, when those with authority in an organization force people with sound argument to complete the processes that can be omitted or shortened, the people can do nothing but obey.

As a result, the organization would waste time and lose competitive capability against other companies.

What Makes Good Reviewers

Now, what are the “good reviewers?” They are:

  • Those who are equipped with certain technical knowledge and can talk fairly and equally with specialists about the business, and even when they’re not good enough, can make effort to catch-up.
  • Those who can give feedback from objective perspectives that the members in front-line do not have and think of the new strategies together.
  • Those who can find appropriate KPIs that can be used for fixed point observation and share it, arousing interest in it at the same time.
  • Those who can reduce bothersome work that weakens the company’s competitiveness through his/her power.
  • Those who can double the motivation of the reviewees.

If you work with a boss or a reviewer who does all of the above, you’re so lucky!

One Simple Secret in Making Good Reviews

There is only one way of thinking you need to keep in mind in order to give good reviews.

It is “just to try to contribute to the work of the reviewees”.

As long as the reviewer keeps this in mind, unnecessary non-productive work will not be created, and the reviewer will not dare to diminish the reviewee’s motivation by flaunting his//her authority.

Everyone, enjoy great reviews!