Reflection on peer review season

Last night, I posted the reflection below as a Twitter thread. In the spirit of working (and thinking!) in public, I wanted to share it here and invite your feedback!

Yesterday, we started our peer review process (our first round as a Supermodular team!). As I’ve been preparing to kick this off, I’m reminded of some of the narratives I’ve carried with me since the start of my career.

Reviews have always felt heavy for me. Working in both higher education and corporate recruiting, a weight came with reviews every season. While often unintended, performance evaluations felt less about what you did and more about who you were. When I worked in student development, “Role not soul” was used a bit during this cadence. I get why, and I even agree with the sentiment. Heck, I’ve even heard the same phrase within the tech and web3 HR realm.

The problem is: “Role not soul” only applied when talking about performance reviews. It didn’t apply when we talked about how burnt out we were by the time Fall Break came around, or how we needed some time off after an especially intense on call week. In those moments, “sacrifice” and “loyalty” were honored and respected. “We see what you do, and just know we appreciate it.” Your soul was what people looked at; it was the price you were excited to pay to do the rewarding work you did.

I say all this because, as I’ve been prepping for this season within Supermodular, I’ve been really mindful of the expectations and assumptions I put on others about this process… whether intentional or not.

I hope what comes from the feedback of peers is helpful and informative - and in the best scenario: encouraging and engaging. And as backwards as it sounds, I hope it also serves as a reminder that we don’t necessarily need reviews to know the information that comes from them.

But I’m a believer in rhythms, so a cadence of intentional feedback is important to me. As someone who isn’t afraid to ask what feels like a ‘silly’ or ‘stupid’ question, I think of reviews as a moment for “Well, you don’t know unless you ask!”

Lastly (and probably most importantly :wink:), I’m focusing on why we’re doing this. If we are to “build a culture of accountability, curiosity, and creativity that leads towards mutual success,” we have to start the building somewhere and with some sort of coordination (!).

So here we are, starting.