Employee Ranking Systems LO16626

John Constantine (rainbird@trail.com)
Mon, 19 Jan 1998 18:13:59 -0800

Replying to LO16575 --

T.J. Elliot responded with wisdom regarding "employee ranking systems."

He said:

> in an ideal world
> employee ranking and forced distribution curves are abandoned. In that
> more perfect universe, we have participative work redesign, fabulous
> self-organizing teams, and other such improvements.
> I don't get to work in that world but rather towards it.

I don't know if TJ knows it, but this is precisely why there is the need
for reconsideration by management of ANY and ALL such practices...because
there is NO SUCH PERFECTION IN THEIR SYSTEMS, though they would have both
employees and managers believe it to be so.

What we are talking about here is not perfection, in any way, shape or
form. What there IS, however, is VARIATION, the kind of variation which
does not usually enter the minds of managers when something goes awry in
their company. There is not desire for allowances due to natural variation
and chance happenings. All problems, errors, defects and faulty things are
considered caused by someone. Someone with a name and a face; someone with
a history and a (potential) future; someone with a family.

So it is of the greatest importance that the administrator of appraisals
and evaluations know what they are dealing with, what mental constructs
may be impeding their understanding of the process, and just how much
there is to lay at the feet of "normal system variation". The manager only
knows (or thinks he/she knows) what he/she sees, but does not know what
he/she DOESN'T see.

To those who would be willing to present me with objective data that they
use in such evaluations, I offer this: I will do an analysis of the data
for appropriateness and statistical controls, and provide you the results.

If you are managers who have used appraisals before, let me know and send
me a sample of what you have used. You might include the result of the

I think it would make an interesting, and sobering, presentation.

I don't think we are seeking perfection...perhaps only justice.

"Those who have eyes to see, let them see. Those who have ears to hear, let
them hear."

from the Bible.


Regards, John Constantine rainbird@trail.com Rainbird Management Consulting PO Box 23554 Santa Fe, NM 87502 http://www.trail.com/~rainbird

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