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Grow & Perform at Stanford

Performance Management written above a compass


Last fall, University Human Resources launched Grow and Perform at Stanford, a refreshed performance management program and system that introduces a new way of thinking about performance across the university.

The fresh approach, which is anchored in a growth mindset, focuses on the value of ongoing, quality dialogues between a manager and employee, in addition to driving results and accountability.

Frequent feedback with a growth mindset

A cornerstone of the GPS approach relies on more frequent, productive “check-ins” between employees and managers and a growth mindset, which teaches a new way of talking about achievements and setbacks. Just as you use a GPS to help you navigate to your desired location by setting a destination, alerting you to what’s ahead, identifying roadblocks and rerouting along the way, ongoing conversations provide the same cues -- realigning goals as needed, celebrating milestones achieved, offering feedback and support as needed -- to ultimately help drive successful year. 

"Our new approach is rooted in a growth mindset, an outcome of research done by Carol S. Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford, which shifts the conversation from a look back on what an employee did or did not accomplish, to what is possible,” says Marguerite Kunze, Associate Vice President for Talent Management & Workforce Strategy. “Overall, the objective is to have a process conducive to employees performing at their best, in the pursuit of achieving Stanford’s goals.”

Moving toward a common framework

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), Business Affairs, Land, Buildings & Real Estate, University HR and External Relations are the first groups to adopt GPS. According to Enrique Caballero, HR director for the GSB, the GPS program supports efforts already underway to move the school toward a performance management approach and system that enables a simplified goals process and conversations that are more frequent. “We are finally able to deliver on the promise that we started espousing back in 2018,” Enrique says.

Last fall, to encourage staff to embrace GPS amid a pandemic and on the heels of an extended winter close break, Enrique says he and his team worked together to provide clear guidance, simple tools and multiple approaches to help staff learn how to navigate the GPS goal planning process and new system. More importantly, he adds, his team committed to educating staff on the impact of GPS, not only in relation to the GSB, but also in context to Stanford at large. 

“GPS is part of a larger effort to provide a common approach to performance management, no matter where you are in the university,” he says. “For those individuals who have career aspirations to grow and move to other opportunities, having a universal framework and common competencies is vital.”

Phased implementation

Six additional schools and business units plan to join this exciting GPS journey between now and fall 2021: Dean of Research, Office of the President and Provost, School of Engineering, Stanford Law School, School of Humanities and Sciences and the Graduate School of Education. To learn more, visit the GPS page on Cardinal at Work.

For questions about Grow and Perform at Stanford, contact Sampurna Sikdar at or Marguerite Kunze at in Talent Management & Workforce Strategy.

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