Staff Development Cycle
Three conversations to transform your team’s
team members toolkit   leaders toolkit
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The  review  Conversation

The review conversation is the ‘grand finale’ to the year.  It answers the headline question of “what has happened?” and lays the ground work for “where do we go from here?”  It is a chance to look back and reflect and in particular, to celebrate the things that have happened, the goals that have been achieved (or even partly achieved!) and the areas of growth that God has been at work in.

There are many similarities between the core part of the review conversation and the refine conversation(s), in terms of the benefits and approaches, so do look at the refine conversation details again, if its been a while since you read through the details and also the additional resource, “Refine and Review Conversation” (in the resources for leaders section).

Before the Meeting:
The focus of the conversation is to evaluate and celebrate the things that have happened, so unlike the Refine conversation, you should take a good amount of time to think through what you believe about the team members performance and achievements this year, by working through their Position Focus form and the notes from the Refine conversation.  Think through each of the elements of the Key Ministry Objectives and the Personal Development Plan priorities and make a mental note of how you would rate their performance on the Position Focus: Review form.

If the team member has a Job Description, you will probably also want to look through this to evaluate how the team member has done in light of their wider team and ministry responsibilities.  We have attached some additional questions that you might want to use for “Role Review” in the Forms page.

 As with your previous preparation, continue to pray for insight, wisdom, grace and truth as you meet with your team member.

It is helpful to have your team member download the “Position Focus: Review” form, (see the forms page or download here) and ask them to think through their own evaluation of the elements, but not complete the form as you will do that together.





The  review  Conversation

Key tools (available in the Forms section):

  • Position Focus form (completed at the beginning of the cycle and amended during the Refine conversation
  • Position Focus: Review form (blank, but with notes that you and the team member have made)
  • Role Review Questions

The Review conversation is a longer conversation than the Refine one (around 90 minutes) as there are a couple of different elements that most people find helpful to cover.  Both elements are more evaluative than the previous Refine conversation.

Hopefully you will both have brought a copy of the Position Focus (amended since the Refine conversation) and any notes you made for the Review time. 

We have described the two elements of the conversation in this way:

zoomin.png Zoom in: 
The zoom-in part of the conversation focuses on the elements of the Position Focus - How well have the priorities been achieved?  Some people may find the rating system on the Review form uncomfortable: evaluating the team member’s performance as “satisfactory”, “outstanding” or “needs improvement”.  This is not essential, but it is essential for the team member to understand which areas they have done well in and which areas they need to continue to focus on.  This will form the basis of the next conversation where you refocus and establish priorities for the coming year.  Work through each of the areas of the Position Focus, (you might want to use some of the questions from the Refine discussion) evaluate the performance and then together start to work on the next steps as appropriate.  Don’t feel you need to finalise all these.  Sometimes further reflection is helpful before it is then finalised in the following Refocus conversation.

zoomout.png  Zoom out: 

The zoom-out part of the conversation puts the priorities of the Position Focus in the context of the team member’s wider role by looking at the individual’s Job Description (if avaialable).  Whether it is formally written out as a Job Description (which we’d certainly recommend!) or whether you and your team member just know the other elements of their role, it’s important to work through the whole role, as well as the areas prioritised in the Position Focus.  We have developed some questions that you may want to use to guide this part of the conversation.  The Role review questions can be found in the Forms section






By the end of the conversation, you and the team member should have agreed (or at least understand your points of differing perspective) the level of performance and to have started to make progress on what the next steps may be (to be finalised at the next [re]focus conversation)

There shouldn’t be any surprises for the team member, but it is the leader’s responsibility to complete the Position Focus: Review form.  There will be a few things you’ll want to do with it:

  • Keep a copy for yourself.  You’ll want to continue your thinking and refer back to the form when you have the [re]focus conversation
  • Give a copy to your team member.  It will encourage them n the things they have achieved and hopefully focus them and spur them on in the things God continues to call them to as well as their own development
  • If you ministry or organization has an HR department, its helpful to send them a copy of the review form as well.  It will help them keep a record of development.  Particularly if the Role Review has uncovered aspirations for future roles, letting HR and the organisation’s leadership know will be essential as they plan for the future.
We have said that celebration is a key part of this stage.  How you go about doing this will vary greatly according to culture, but think through what would be appropriate, either individually or as part of a team get-together.





Continuing the Cycle

The richness of this cycle will really only emerge as you continue to go deeper.  You may have found by this stage that the whole process would be even more effective when used together with some other tools and processes.  The common ones are:

  • Strategic plan.  There may have been some frustrations over expectations in the staff development cycle.  This can sometimes be because the team were not clear on the strategic priorities of the ministry or team.  This might be an area to re-visit.
  • Job description.  When people do have job descriptions, they are often unused and therefore not reflective of the particular role.  The process of developing or refining a job description can often seems an administrative burden, but can often solve a multitude of misunderstandings, conflicts and frustrations before they start.
  • Personal Development Plan & Input.  Although the Position Focus identifies a couple of areas for development, many people find gaining others input on their development, (using a tool such as a 360 degree feedback questionnaire) and then articulating more fully the plan for development (in a Personal Development Plan) really helpful.  These two tools are available in the Forms section.  We have suggested that sometimes the middle of the year (around the time of the Refine conversation) might be a good time to do this as well. 





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