How To Evaluate Performance With One Simple Question


Every once in a while you stumble onto a question that cuts to the core of an issue. A question that is so surgically precise that by answering it, you cut directly through any cloud of doubt and get to the point very quickly.

I found this one question so powerful that I ask myself it on a regular basis.

When you’re evaluating your team, it’s sometimes hard to get perspective on how everyone is performing. We all strive to find that perfect rockstar who walks on water but the reality is that typically there are great things about each person on your team and some things you wish were a little better.

Maybe someone is always late on deadlines… but their speed is god-like.

Or perhaps they launch buggy code now and then… but come up with game-changing, needle moving ideas.

Or maybe they’re a little slow… but they can handle the most hard-core of difficult challenges with impeccable quality.

Looking at each of those individually doesn’t give you the full picture of the person’s performance and can sometimes cloud your opinion.

The one question I ask myself regularly to quickly confirm the overall level of performance that my team is running at is:

“Knowing everything I know now, would I hire them again?”

Not, “Are they performing well?”or “What’s the quality of their work?”

or any other specific question that doesn’t look at the entire picture of someone’s performance.

Plain and simple: Would you hire them again?

If the answer is yes, and you have high standards, then congratulations – you’ve found a rockstar. Treat them well, give them work that challenges and motivates them and most of all keep them happy.

I’ve found it to be the single most effective ( and more importantly, fast! ) way of making sure I have the very best team on the planet.

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On December 11, 2011

  • Mark

    This is certainly a great metric for “is this employee good enough?” but the question creates a bright-line – everyone’s on one side or the other. Unless you’re planning to blanket fire everyone who fails, and blanket promote everyone who passes, you need more granularity. For instance, how do you differentiate between someone who’s just good enough, and someone who blows your mind every week?

    • luclevesque

      Thanks for your comment Mark. I agree, I wouldn’t suggest promoting or firing anyone based on this question alone. It’s just one ( of many ) tools you can use to help hone in on how your team is performing.

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