The End of the Performance Review


Tim Baker’s new book revolutionizes the way to view and conduct employee appraisals. His method is brilliant in its simplicity and highly effective in its approach. “The End” for the traditional performance review but just the beginning for a groundbreaking new model.

Marshall Goldsmith – global leadership thinker and million-selling author or editor of 32 books, including the New York Times bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t get You There

Dr Baker leads the world in offering an innovative new approach to appraising employee performance. His research and energy in the specialised field of performance management is evidenced by his international profile as a renowned speaker, management consultant and facilitator.

Stephen Hartley, Australia’s leading expert on project management and author of Project Management: Principles, Processes and Practices

I believe this book will revolutionize the way we appraise performance in the modern workplace.

Brent D. Peterson, Ph.D., co-author of Fake Work: Why People are Working Harder Than Ever but Accomplishing Less, and How to Fix the Problem

Don’t read this book– that is if you are happy with average performance. For HR Professionals and Managers whose careers depend on creating a culture of high performance and delivering performance outcomes , this book is an absolute must read.

Danny Hovey, National Manager – Organizational Development, Aurizon

A very thought provoking and alternative way to consider the age old performance management issue.  The tools provided to assist in opening and continuing the dialogue between an employee and their supervisor are extremely valuable. The End of the Performance Review has definitely made me reconsider our processes, conversations and supervisor preparation.

Barbara Miller, Director – People and Culture, CQUniversity

My clients love using the Five Conversations! I think it is a very good process and it has a huge amount of value for organisations who commit to taking it on.

Anne Tocker, HR Manager, Watts Next

Dr Baker’s Five Conversations Framework is a simple, non-threatening structured approach for managers to adopt and adapt! It brings together previous theories, logic and business approaches to provide guidance on what is often considered by managers as their toughest management responsibilities.

Renae Jones PhD, Change Management Consultant

A really sensible, practical approach; Tim provides a solid framework to enable effective performance and development discussions and actions.

Chris Hancock, HR Consultant

I have had the pleasure of working with Dr Tim Baker for nearly 10 years, where we immediately clicked as we both share the passion of people. Our first piece of work together was the Team Management Profile where Tim was soley responsible forr developing a higher performing management team in our small 450 person Council. Tim’s new work on the Five Conversations Framework further builds on Tim’s research and tried and tested experience. Performance management is more often than not considered by Managers and Officers as tedious, at times confrontational and mostly a waste of time. Follow Dr Tim Baker’s Five Conversations Framework and see the time invested in an organisational culture that recognises the ‘big P’ in Performance – People.

Barry Omundson, CEO, Mackay Regional Council

Neuroscience shows us that our brain does not like threats. Yet the traditional performance review approach is perceived as a threat by the brain. Our brain reacts to threats in a negative way like “fight, flight or freeze” and this discourages staff from improving their performance. Tim’s Five Conversations Framework is a positive approach that gets around the negative reaction of the brain. It will get the brain on side and working for the organisation, not against it.

Bill Synnot, International Change Management Specialist, University Lecturer, Trainer, Executive Coach, Facilitator, Author


Most organizational leaders are locked into conducting annual and bi-annual performance reviews with their staff, even though they know the system is not working. Performance reviews are costly, time-consuming and often a one-way monologue without follow-up. Organizations need an entirely new approach to managing performance.

The End of the Performance Review is a thoroughly tested, distinctive alternative that draws on well-established principles of organizational behavior. Base around Tim Baker’s unique ‘Five Conversations Framework’, each conversation lasts ten minutes, the reader is offered a new model for performance management that better reflects the changing needs  of employees and organizations. With a timely focus on fostering innovation, the book is practical and easy to use, featuring case studies, interviews and useful templates.


Foreword xi
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 1
1 Abolishing the Standard Performance Review 6
2 The Five Conversations Framework 30
3 The Climate Review Conversation 49
4 Moving from Job Focus to Performance Focus 69
5 Bye-bye Job Descriptions 86
6 The Strengths and Talents Conversation 100
7 The Opportunities for Growth Conversation 130
8 The Learning and Development Conversation 155
9 The Innovation and Continuous Improvement
Conversation 173
10 Implementing the Five Conversations
Framework 194
11 The Final Conversation 206

APPENDIX – Templates for the Five
Conversations 221
Index 235

5.1 A performance management framework 95
6.1 Margerison-McCann types of work wheel 109
6.2 Margerison-McCann team management
wheel 110

The Five Conversations Framework 32
The ten most-valued job skills 78