Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Being brutal

At my age I have read many a books on business which talk about performance and non-performance. All those authors often write about getting rid of non-performance and encouraging performance. I always thought it would be easy to encourage performance. At the same time when I read about the bell curve Jack Welch created I was shocked to hear that a team lead would be required to fire the bottom 5% performers of his team every year.

Jack himself said that he found team leads signing-off at the end of 3 years because there was no way they could fire someone they had been working with for 3 years and now he performed fine but was still at the bottom of his team.

I thought it was crazy but still always used to quote this example in any discussion that involved a point about performance. I did agree that it was an outrageous thing to do something like this but at the same time believed that if a standard of this sort could be established then others could try to establish standards equivalent to 80% of that by may be softening some of the rules.

I am standing at a position where my stance about someone's performance might result into a decision like that. Unfortunately the person in question is a good friend of mine. And more unfortunately an honest statement from my side might not result into happy state of affairs.

I do have sometime to decide on my position on the whole matter and I hope whatever I do is a rational and justified decision.


Ankit said...

I think the bell curve works some way.... it even encourages the under performances but after three yrs it ll difficult to figure out those 5% as there wont b nyone left. Just to add this has been started here in my comp as well. Lets c how things go.

Publius Americanus said...

Very interesting post. I don't know business well enough to comment intelligently, but I thought I should acknowledge your conscience.

ankurg said...

I didnt undertsand how u said the bell curve encourages underperformances?


I dont think more than conscience sometimes it boils down to rationality. may be!!