Our focus was on consciousness-raising and self-assessment—identification of competencies, areas for development, and, generally, preparing our discussant for a performance discussion with his or her boss.
We were functioning with the assumption that in-depth and candid self-reflection is the essential first step for performance discussion and progress. The format provided us with two levels of briefing on any individual whose performance was to be judged and previewed.
While we were not about to reveal specifics, we were equipped to ask, “How do you think your hierarchy views what you just described?” and to comment, “We may have gotten it incorrect, but we think there are some areas in which they see you differently. You may want to inquire about this later on when we meet with your boss.”
Then, at other times when discussing strengths or the help or lack of help that an individual received from the hierarchy, we would counsel, “You may want to bring this up for discussion when, later on, we meet with your boss.”
This made sense since the next step was to bring the two together for a performance planning and developmental steps discussion. We played a low-key role in the discussions with the boss.