Ranking.. Even here.. LO17349

John Constantine (rainbird@trail.com)
Sun, 08 Mar 1998 06:23:59 -0700

Replying to LO17339 --

Fellow LO'ers:

In all candor, I would like to ask whether we are participants in a
"learning organization" or a debating society?

It seems to me to be a wonderful example of how "academics" impact on
"real-world" issues. (I take this from the many prospective/actual clients
who seem hell-bent on viewing from an "either-or" perspective, with the
suggestion that "it all sounds nice in an academic sense, but it would
never apply to the real world.")

Roxanne's point of view, Richard Goodale's point of view, and
god-knows-how-many others' reflect their understanding and comfort level
with the subject matter of PA's, ranking, et al. All this actually occurs
in real time, fellow LO'ers, not merely play-time. If you don't believe
so, visit your local retailer, manufacturer, service agency inter alia,
and hang about the work area so you can hear what is being said, and felt,
by the workers.

In shorthand, managers don't know what they are doing, only that they are

a) what they are told, or
b) what they are prompted to do from previous experience.

Those whose frame-of-reference encompasses finger-pointing and argument,
will feel comfortable with one side of this "ranking" issue. Those who
have been exposed to the derision and abuse which are too often part of
daily work ritual, will feel more attuned to the "other". Is the overall
difficulty with this thread a matter of unease based on the fact that some
have benefitted from shaming, blaming, and finger-pointing to get the
positions they currently have? While there may be gold in this thread,
would this exemplify the learning organization in miniature, or not? And
if not, why not?

I am deeply moved by many, many of the messages posted regarding this
matter, but I am having a hard time resolving the goal (learning) with the
generally partisan nature of the chatter. Of course I recognize the fact
that I am clearly on one side of the discussion, and am struggling to see
others' points of view who may not agree with me. But, what have we
learned, if anything? Are we more "enmeshed" now than we were before? Is
it not possible to see the outcomes matching the expectations of those who
would rather rank than reason?

>From the early stages in which I took the subject to be one of a
discussion of the impacts on people of various attempts to "segregate,
categorize, and rank", I find myself wondering if some contributors merely
adhere to the notion of "good idea, poorly implemented", when it comes to
one person appraising, evaluating, or ranking another. Given that
position, anyone can come up with a good excuse for continuing to impact
others by virtue of ranking systems and appraisal methods, and lives will
be hurt, psyches damaged, and the "do-er" completely oblivious to the harm

Where are we as a learning organization on this topic? Or, shall we merely
continue to debate by oblique references...

Roxanne Abbas wrote:
> Steve Eskow asked:
> " Would the quality of the discussion here be improved if we were ranked:
> by Rick, or a committee?"
> Rick Karash replied :
> >Or, a related idea, suppose that on the web site readers could vote on
> >the quality and relevance of each message. Give each posting a 1-10
> >rating...
> > * Authors could get quant feedback.
> > * And, later readers, if they wished, could select what to read based on
> >quality ratings.
> > * Or, for each msg, the average quality scores of that author's past
> >msgs could be displayed as a guide.
> > * Or (...back to ranking) we could post the sorted list of authors'
> >quality ratings.
> >
> >This is all quite practical, just a little recreation programming
> >required... would it be valuable?"
> And Suzanne Sauvi commented:
> "If we were ranked by a Committee, there is no way we would be
> participating in these discussions in real time."
> I have bared my soul on the topic of performance ranking. I agree with
> Suzanne; I can think of no more efficient way to destroy learning and to
> destroy this group than to rank our messages. I had assumed that Steve's
> suggestion was purely facetious. I laughed aloud when I read it.
> Roxanne Abbas



John Constantine Rainbird Management Consulting PO Box 23554 Santa Fe, NM 87502-3554 Rainbird@Trail.Com http://www.trail.com/~rainbird

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