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Forced Employee Ranking, a process that ensures incompetence in companies, has been sourced, as a failure, to Jack Welch -- the guy credited with turning around GE. I began to wonder if much of what he was credited with actually created what now appears to be a cancer in that company, and in Microsoft, and that the reason folks haven't been able to fix it is because it came from such a well-regarded expert. But given how widespread this practice is, and how stupid and suicidal it has become, I now wonder if Jack should be credited with crippling the U.S.
I worked for Sears Holdings for many years. They practiced the same force ranking. During reviews time we have to be ranked to fit the bell curve. They then told us only 20% will get a raise. After pay freeze for many years that was the last thing I took. I asked those senior management out right which idiot came up with that idea? So only 20% of Sears employee will carry company forward? Is that meant 80% are just mediocre employees? After that I just left. Now I am working for a small company that don't even care about review. We delivered what we were hired to do and in review time we sit down with manager and talk about our future. Any company that practice the force ranking deserved to be out of business...sooner the better!
This is a hugely flawed story.
I worked for GE and Jack for over 20 years, mostly in R&D. Despite forced-ranking of the bottom 10%, which really did humanely and systematically replace underperformers with growing stars, and forced the rest of us to continually strive and grow, I never saw a more cooperative, effective organization. Recall that we were evaluated 50% on values, which included boundarylessness, teamwork, and energizing others. Anybody who damaged relationships and coworkers was gone in a millisecond, whereas people who struggled in an assignment were given second and third chances.
GE is hurting now (2012) because of Jeffrey's flawed strategies, not because of Jack's (1981-2001) legacy. But I suppose you also still blame Bush and Reagan for Obama's failure to turn around our economy today.
In profession circles, the GE “research laboratory” in upstate NY is a well-known joke. Managers there “playoff”one scientist against another to determine who’s productive and who isn’t. GE got the idea years ago from Bell Labs (now Lucent-Alcatel) and it was later used at Enron. This is the one policy which guarantees that nothing gets accomplished, as most commercial technologies are too complicated for one person. Of course, each scientist is responsible for raising funds to pay for his (or her) work, including management salaries. (Yes, that’s right, scientists performing telemarketing.) Most scientists are neither adept nor especially interested in fund raising. This assignment ultimately uses up most of the time available for performing useful scientific or engineering work. GE was underperforming other companies long before its collapse ’07 . To understand why GE shareholders lost $400 billion since 1999, you don’t have to look any further than “GE Research.”