The first time I officially supervised another person was 26 years ago. (It’s true I’m the oldest of five children and hours of “babysitting” my siblings was a fine training ground for management.) Yep, I’ve had plenty of time to develop my own philosophy about performance management. And, I’ve experimented extensively with how to offer exceptional feedback to the individuals on the teams I’ve led.

But despite this HR foundation, for the very first time, I am checking in with individuals external to mStoner as preparation for our 2011 performance reviews. It feels right to me that the mStoner performance evaluation process includes contacting clients. Who else could give a more accurate assessment of our team members? Yes, it takes extra timetime for individuals to suggest names of people I should call, time for me to schedule these calls, and most encouraging, the precious time clients spend on the phone talking about one individual’s work on a project that is probably over or nearly over.

Turns out, I’m working with a crew of three humble individuals. Until I talked to the clients:

  • I didn’t know that one person made himself available 24/7 during the three weeks prior to a website launch by sharing his home and mobile phone numbers. And, as the client reported, “He always took our calls.”
  • I wasn’t aware that another client never heard this mStoner team member say no. Even though the client described the ideas they came up with as wild and wacky, and with some high expectations for the technology.
  • I hadn’t realized that another is trusted by the client because, in additional to his exceptional creativity, he is “completely unflappable” and adept at simultaneous right- and left-brain thinking.

In my opinion, this commitment to individual development is key to organizational excellence. mStoner is successful when our team does exceptional work for the educational institutions that engage us. I think it takes courage to circle back and ask a client how someone did. I’m proud to be part of a group that values, and seeks out, the opinions and impressions of people external to our company.

Inspired to talk to us about someone on our team? I’m sure Voltaire would like to hear from you. Contact him and let us know how we’re doing. Improvement is something we take seriously, any time of year.

Susan T. Evans

AUTHOR - Susan T. Evans

Just when you think you've got the best job in the world, you get the chance to work at mStoner. It's proposals and planes and projects and possibilities. And when it's not, it's clients and colleagues and collaborations. For me, it's just right. The only thing better would be me in a black and white film starring Bette Davis where, instead of her, I say, "There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne." Find me on

  • Joshua

    Nice piece Susan… hi to everyone at mstoner!

  • Susan Evans

    Thanks, Josh. It was definitely a fun one to write.

  • Amy Mengel

    No surprise that the mStoner team is full of awesomesauce! I *love* this idea of polling clients and incorporating their feedback into performance reviews for employees. It’s validating and helps discover the values that drive success within your company (being available and flexible, creativity, etc.) and can help you create a profile for success that can guide hiring decisions.


  • Susan Evans

    Thanks, Amy. We agree!

Post A Comment