What they don’t teach you in business school

To me , performance appraisals are a joke! This yearly cycle where a manager comes around and tells you what you could do better and you as a manager go around telling your team members how they could have been “awesome” just sucks.

We deserve better. Period.

Any company would not hesitate telling the general public that they hire only exceptionally bright and talented people with a great attitude. But the same company would prefer to draw a “bell curve” to map its people and grade them nicely to follow that curve.

This is gibberish.

If I had a free hand, I’d have the courage to say – “Whoever is in the company is outstanding, whoever is not should have been fired already”. Simple.

There’s no reason telling mediocre people they are not good enough. Because if they were so dumb that they ought to be told, they shouldn’t be around wasting your time.

This whole fixed-point grading scheme  – call it whatever you please. Exceptional, Outstanding, Exceeds expectations , Below expectations, the fact of the matter is – it’s not serving any purpose. It’s a way for the company to survive.

Being in the industry for so long, I have realized the “ultimate truth”.

Every company does need average or mediocre people to drag the heavy cart when the sun shines. When the times are tough, there’s no need for an appraisal. You figure out automatically who is outstanding and who is not because you are shown the door mercilessly. My point simply is – there’s no reason to be hypocritical about it.

Average people need jobs. Companies need average people to survive and do the grunt work. Companies also need exceptional people to move to the next level. At this level, it all makes sense. Just tell the average Joe that he was hired even though he’s just average because you needed somebody to do the heavy-lifting. Neither will he complain, nor will you sweat about it. If he doesn’t like it, let him go find a better job. Tell the special ones how special they are and the company will do everything to retain them.

We don’t want exceptional people to know they are special because it doesn’t make fiscal sense for the company. Get it?

If all this sounds alien to you, Welcome to the real world!

Or better still – “What they don’t teach you in business school”


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