Annual review: overcoming a co-worker’s impression of powerlessness

It is generally not difficult to determine that an objective has not been met. But the reasons for which it is not are subject to greater debate, and even to claims of helplessness by your co-worker: "I didn't have the means at my disposal." How can you bring forth a more empowered vision of the situation?
Having checked in regularly throughout the year
Discovering during the course of an annual review that a co-worker has encountered obstacles (be they real or imaginary) to attaining an objective is detrimental to everybody, since all that can be done is to confirm the failure. That is why it is essential, once a goal has been set, to plan several checkpoints throughout the year: "Where are you in your progress toward this goal? What difficulties are you encountering? What could we put into place...?" In this way, any possible lack of means will be handled during the course of the year and will no longer be a reason for failure.       
Hearing the external causes
A co-worker will sometimes attribute failure to external causes ("there was nothing I could do") and this blocks all progress because he does not perceive himself as a responsible agent. It is thus useful first to have him develop his point of view in order to understand the reality of these causes (of which some might be real obstacles). This stage of listening without preconceptions allows you to identify the true difficulties and to determine upon what the co-worker will probably be able to act, after stepping back and analyzing things.       
Asking about the "internal" causes
Once the external causes have been heard, it becomes legitimate to ask your co-worker about what depended, at least in part, upon him: "In this situation, where did you have room to maneuver, even slightly? Where might you have been able to find leverage? What action, even a risky or unusual one, might you imagine for...?" The goal is above all not to show that he acted poorly but rather to emphasize that there is room for agency.       
Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!
1 / 3   It is the fault of the others!
Georges tells you "it's impossible to achieve my objectives, the other departments don't fulfill their commitments, I'm trapped". Yet, you have mentioned several times that he doesn't do what he is supposed to do because he drowns himself in detail. How do you reply?

Throughout the year we have often discussed the following point: Not fulfilling your objectives is largely due to the large amount of time you spend on details, and that makes you spend more time than is necessary on certain tasks. Do we still agree on that?
This is a necessary reminder if you have clearly raised the point during the year.
OK, but you know very well that's not the only reason!
Too evasive, it is better to clearly express what you think.
I think you blame your colleagues a little too easily!
Even if you are right, this reproach will only put Georges on the defensive.
Yes, actually everyone is having difficulties fulfilling their workload.
So what can you do?

Accepting that nobody can do it doesn't help! And the question of solutions is premature since Georges does not feel responsible.   
2 / 3   No direct impact on the events
On the question "what depends on you?", Eloise replies "nothing, all my work depends on that of the others, I have no direct impact on anything and everything is lagging behind". What do you answer?

I understand that you have this impression but I think that you exaggerate a little. There are things you can work on, don't you think?
Futile, Eloise will continue to argue with you to prove her case.

I have the feeling that you are disheartened, that you feel powerless…
Yes, it’s necessary to let Eloïse express her thoughts.
Once she’s got everything off her chest, she will be more open, will temper her remarks and reply to the question “What can we do?”

So, what do you propose?
Eloise is not yet ready to search for solutions. She wants her problem to be heard.
How can I help you unblock certain situations?
It's a little early. Eloise's message is "listen to why I'm disheartened!".
Then you can offer your assistance.

3 / 3   Too ambitious?
An annual objective hasn't been reached and Vasco tells you: "it was too ambitious and impossible to achieve, I couldn't do it ". What do you reply?
Yet, you accepted the objective!
Certain but it was a slippery slope. Vasco could replay that he didn't have a choice and you'll go round in circles.
If reaching an objective isn't possible, then what do you propose?
You are inviting Vasco to question himself, and not to be satisfied with" I couldn't".
This objective was attainable, your colleagues managed it. How can you explain this?
The comparison with your colleagues will make him feel guilty. Vasco will have to justify himself. It's a waste of time.

What was missing?
Interesting question for later, but for the moment, the problem is, above all, that Vasco didn't anticipate the situation and he denies any responsibility.
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