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Out of Our Minds
Friday, August 05, 2005 4:58 PM
They Moved the Cheese Again
Anita Sharpe on Business

I've been hearing this refrain pretty often lately. Companies listen to the latest management theory and change the parameters of how they evaluate employees, usually leaving some strong performers out in the cold. One great salesperson I know -- who consistently beats his quota -- tells me he was recently reprimanded for being out of the office too much, spending too much time with customers and prospects and not socializing enough with his colleagues. Who thinks this stuff up?


martin - 8/8/2005 9:46:18 AM
I was all too familiar with this sort of management style. I was the the leading sales person at a company that was 'people focused'. We had gone as far as hiring a 'wellness director' and I eventually found myself in a meeting regarding my performance as it related to my office bound colleagues. Securing millions of dollars worth of work, at a cost of being on the road a great deal, needed to be put in 'balance' with how my company operated 'as a team'.

Within six months of the meeting, I had written a business plan and launched my own company.

I use to call it the 'Wired-effect'. The president of the organization's management views would be drrastically affected by what was reported in Wired each month. Those were the '90's. It's depressing to hear your colleague is facing that sort of nonsense today.
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 8/5/2005 10:06:27 PM
All the more reason to work for myself. I am the only person I have to report to and, although I am pretty tough on myself, I do take holidays and plenty of time off to refresh.
Working as a tribunal judge for a government employment office somewhere in Canada, some of the time, I see this a lot. People play by the rules and then the rules change. Frustrating is not a strong enough word to explain how they feel by the time they get to see us!
Living la vida fearless.
Michael - 8/5/2005 7:57:38 PM
The invisible performance standard and its cousin the every changing performance standard seem to be the plight of so many friends in corporate America. But this is all part of the popular corporate faith.

The forward to Peter Block's book Stweardship notes three statements of faith 1) 'I believe in compliance' 2) 'Watching is better than doing' and 3)in the event of a breakdown or failure 'try harder'.

Maybe there is now a fourth; 'Bow down and worship the one true manager who makes the cheese to appear and disappear according to his/her will.'
Phil Gerbyshak - 8/5/2005 7:21:26 PM
Very interesting. I encountered this once where I was working, when they changed the metrics for everyone's year end evaluation. To say that was a downer year-end was an understatement for many of us, myself included. I left that place before I could get my next performance review, though I heard they changed the process (and the formula for raises and bonuses) again that year.
Jeffrey - 8/5/2005 5:27:37 PM
I'm not reacting to the exact specifics of this situation, but just because you are successful on one metric doesn't mean you don't fall short on other metrics a company (and your colleagues) might value.


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