Employee Ranking Systems LO17611

Ben Compton (BCompton@dws.net)
Tue, 31 Mar 1998 09:26:45 -0500

Replying to LO17598 --

Richard Goodale is very eloquent in his defense of the symbiotic
relationship between competition and cooperation. I thoroughly enjoyed
reading his remarks.

Like Richard, I do not see competition and cooperation as mutually
exclusive. I see them as two sides of the same coin. They both allow
individuals achieve the results they value most.

In my view, cooperation can only exist among competent and competitive
people. If you were to ask me to cooperate with someone who was not
competent, who had no desire to become competent, I would refuse. I would
force management to choose between me and the incompetent(s) I was asked
to cooperate with.

On the other hand, I'd leap at an opportunity to cooperate with competent
and driven people. And I'm confident I would find such cooperation be
tremendously satisfying and stimulating.

What's the difference?

How do incompetent advance their career and achieve the results they need
to stay employed? By living off of the work of the competents. They have
no other option, as they're incapable of producing the results they need
on their own. As a result they are capable of any number of possibilities:

(a) Taking credit for work they did not do
(b) Manipulating management to make them look good and me look bad
(c) Play political games to remove people who stand in the way of their advancement (or self-preservation).

The list could go on, but I think you get the idea. My basic premise is
that the only way an incompetent can survive in the world is to behave in
inherently unethical ways. And so I can not trust them, and I will not
work with them.

On the other hand, a competent person knows they can succeed based on
their ability to work hard, and to achieve the results they are
expected/required to achieve. They have the self-esteem needed to
cooperate with other people who are just as competent, and, possibly, more
competent then themselves. I believe that competency breeds ethical
behavior. And so I am willing to cooperate with those I know to be

Hence my belief that employee ranking is critical to the long-term success
of an organization. Whether management makes the distinction between the
competents and incompetents is not the point. I will make the distinction
on my own, based on my experience, and the experience of those around me.
If management asks me to cooperate with incompetent people I will force
them to decide who they value more: Me or the incompetents I am asked to
cooperate with. I will make employee ranking an inescapable process,
regardless of the discomfort or trepidation it may cause others.

As I've said before, competency is a virtue, and now I've explained why I
think so.

Benjamin Compton
DWS -- "The GroupWise Integration Experts"
(617) 267-0044 ext. 16
E-Mail: bcompton@emailsolutions.com

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