Capitalist Note - On the road talking to some folks about Performance today. Reminded me of the question asked in this post title, and the comments are probably better than the post. Enjoy...
A sharp reader named Amanda writes:
"If you're a strong manager who regularly provides feedback and coaching, and you aggressively manage poor performance (either to improvement or out of the org), then why should it be impossible for you to have a team of strong to high performers? Furthermore, why wouldn't a company want that for all their teams?"
Which begs the question - why do companies stack rank performance and poison so much water?
The answer is pretty simple - most managers can't, won't or aren't boxed in enough to do what it takes to aggressively manage performance. So poppa (the company) has to come in and say the following:
"We haven't trained you as a manager to truly manage performance on your own. And you know what? Even if we did, you'd avoid doing what's required because there's a bunch of daily straight talk involved. So here's what we're going to do - rather than us training you and then you throwing away all that training because it's human nature to avoid confrontation, we're just going to have you rank your employees 1 through 10. We may fire #9 and #10. That's all you have to do - see you in December for that, right around the holidays. Please go back to avoiding tough conversations."
Companies stack rank because it's the path of least resistance, the lowest common denominator for what needs to be done.
Amanda's one of the good ones. The problem is most people won't do what she suggests. Enter the stack rank.