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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is AndyLeonard.blog.

Performance-Based Management Stinks

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http://andyleonard.blog/2011/11/03/performance-based-management-stinks/

Published Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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Bobby D said:

Excellent post, Andy!  I've been enjoying reading the series.  I have seen PBM from many angles (having written software used by Industrial Engineers to develop metrics to having a small say in how metrics are derived for teams I've been on).  These days, I find myself asking the question, "by instituting these policies, what true motivators are we putting in place?"  For example, in your situation by encouraging the "60" to be more like the "20", is management encouraging them to strive for perfection?  Or, more likely, is management engendering a kind of false competition for a goal that doesn't exist (i.e. there can only be X members of the "20", which means the "60" works hard to alienate the weak while lying, cheating & stealing their way into the "20").  The approach I tend to prefer is dealing specifically with individuals and working towards getting their goals aligned with our business needs.

November 3, 2011 8:54 AM
 

David Hunt said:

I must say I agree Andy.

I'm happy to say that my current employment uses role based performance for its raises and promotions.

If you meet the qualifications for the next level up in your technical or management path you’re promoted. This gives incentive to those people whom want to take on more responsibility and perform well.

From what I see it is quite effective, although I haven’t been here quite a year as of yet.

November 16, 2011 6:02 PM
 

Steve Jones said:

I almost got tossed for being a manager in this type of system. We were told to rank people from 5-1 (highest-lowest) and that we should end up with a ratio that was somewhat pre-determined for our department. Each manager might have a skewed distribution in their 5-12 people, but if the department (100-200 people) didn't fall into the ratios, we'd have to "adjust" rankings.

I said something unflattering in a large meeting of managers and none of the directors or VPs broke the silence to fire me. Eventually someone told me we'd have to live with it.

I had a team of 10. I learned I couldn't rank anyone a 5 without substantial justification. Ones were easier to give out, but they would result in an improvement plan, and if the person got a 5 the next period, they would be let go.

I ended up with too many 4s, and had to move a person to a 3, and had to put someone as a 2 since I didn't have any. In a relative sense, I picked the weakest individual as a 2, but in an absolute sense of what they were doing for the company and in their position, they were clearly doing what was expected and should have been a 3.

I walked away thinking I'd never work in that type of environment if I could take care of my family another way. It was silly and resulted in a dysfunctional group that is much like what you describe.

May 10, 2013 4:56 PM
 

CM said:

As an HR person who sits on the other side of this PBM process, here's my 2 cents worth...often we are as much of a victim of C suite people reading a business book on the plane or taking an executive leadership course and coming back to the office with a great new idea!

HR people don't necessarily always agree with the 'flavour of the month' business theories but we are expected to support it and make it work.

I believe the idea behind performance management is a good one and I've seen it in action with excellent results.

Hear me out.... No, I'm not talking about the 20-60-20 model. I'm talking about when an employee doesn't seem to be meeting expectations, sit down with them and have a conversation to see what's going on and if there's something which can be done to fix the issue. I find that often being really clear about the job expectations can solve a lot of problems.  I've seen guys go from being on a performance program to being solid, happy employees when we've taken the time to talk and be supportive.

So there ya go, an HR perspective.  Sure there are HR folk who don't see it this way, maybe they're not courageous enough to mention that the employer has no clothes or maybe they've drunk the cool-aid too.  But at least you know lots of HR professionals agree with you.

August 16, 2013 11:15 AM
 

andyleonard said:

Thanks for your comments and insights, Bobby, David, Steve, and CM.

CM, I sincerely appreciate your insight. HR is difficult enough. It has to be even more difficult in technical operations. It *has* to be satisfying when you impact someone's career in such a positive manner.

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August 20, 2013 10:46 PM

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