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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-30-2007, 09:32 PM   #21
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Re: Annual Review time

It is my observation that known failing managers are either fired or left in place, rarely are they promoted (although some are transferred to where management knows they DON'T WANT to go to inspire resignation).
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-30-2007, 11:13 PM   #22
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat
It is my observation that known failing managers are either fired or left in place, rarely are they promoted (although some are transferred to where management knows they DON'T WANT to go to inspire resignation).
Several years ago at a large electronics company where I worked, management started a program called "fast tracking". The program was based on the theory that with dozens of layers of management between the first tier supervisor and the CEO, good people would not be promoted to the top based on merit in a timeframe fewer than 30 or 40 years. This meant that only old pharts could be executives. In order to get young talent to the top before they went on life support, the fast track program would identify them early on and then promote them on a schedule (typically every 9 months) regardless of how they performed. Corporate VPs were given the authority to identify and oversee fast trackers. Often these suckups bright young employees would do an absolutely miserable job during their 9 month assignment, then be promoted up to the next level. The execs who advocated the program pointed out that the skills required at one level of management may not have much to do with the skills needed at the top, so failure at one level was no reason to hold the fast tracker back.

It was not a very popular program with most engineers and it was pretty disasterous.

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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 09:13 AM   #23
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by sgeeeee
Often these suckups bright young employees would do an absolutely miserable job during their 9 month assignment, then be promoted up to the next level. The execs who advocated the program pointed out that the skills required at one level of management may not have much to do with the skills needed at the top, so failure at one level was no reason to hold the fast tracker back.
sounds about right....the reward for doing a good job is to keep you in that job and give you more work
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 10:08 AM   #24
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by Maddy the Turbo Beagle
sounds about right....the reward for doing a good job is to keep you in that job and give you more work
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 10:15 AM   #25
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by Maddy the Turbo Beagle
sounds about right....the reward for doing a good job is to keep you in that job and give you more work
That is certainly one risk of being the only one that can deliver on a job. The ones that seem to get ahead are the ones that have learned to work the system in their favor and do very little actual work while taking credit for accomplishments done by others while pointing fingers to those that cause other things to fail. Getting the boss's ear and making it LOOK like you are doing a great job is one way to get promoted.

Eventually the Peter Principle will come into effect and your management will find out you don't really do anything. That is when they assign you to "special projects". Some ride out the rest of their career in such jobs while others see the writing on the wall and get out of the compay to start fresh somewhere else...carrying on the tradition of kissing up and getting ahead.

Every once in a while management will promote people that actually know what they are doing and who do a great job. It is refreshing to see but is all to rare it seems. Downsizing also means that there are fewer management positions and this creates a much narrower ladder to climb. Competition can be very tough and actual job performance seems less and less important the higher one goes...politics become the determining factor.

This will be my last year for doing and getting performance reviews, doing bonus justifications, hiring, firing, doing budgets and hosting regulatory inspectors. I am looking forward to a rest after working 12 hour days most of my career and spending many restless nights thinking about the job. The light is at the end of the tunnel and it is becoming brighter with each day. Soon.....very soon...it will be a distant memory.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 12:06 PM   #26
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Re: Annual Review time

DRAMA! The Director of IT announced he is retiring, and they have interviewed a small group of people to replace him. One of my buddies is in the running, and so is an upper management favorite. Word is he mopped the floor with her in the interview process, so it's up in the air as to who will get it. The Director of Security is a good friend of mine, and we are trying to get me back in his department as the IT Security manager. My dotted line would be the Director of IT position that my buddy is going for. Wow, if this all works out I could be in tall cotton!

(hmm, re-reading this, it sounds like I'm an ardent believer in suck-up political slick promotions, but really, these guys are GOOD, so I was simply referring to a pleasant work environment )
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 12:15 PM   #27
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Re: Annual Review time

One good thing about my current situation is that they've cancelled the process for this year... :
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 12:19 PM   #28
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence

...(hmm, re-reading this, it sounds like I'm an ardent believer in suck-up political slick promotions, but really, these guys are GOOD, so I was simply referring to a pleasant work environment )
At your stage of careerdome it makes sense to do all you can to have a fat income to fund your investments that will create the nest egg that will allow you ER. As long as you can face yourself in the mirror each day and don't hurt anyone else in your path who cares how you do it? Business is not about being nice it is about getting the job done and doing it better than the next guy. I believe you can do it "your" way and still come out a winner.

Good luck we are all watching from the wings while the drama unfolds.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 01:57 PM   #29
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
I wonder why there are not too many bosses ask for feedback. They really do not want to hear the truth.
Well, although the comment is funny, I do have a serious reply to this. It was pretty recent when I was just a normal engineer, and thought that it would be great to be able to tell my clueless managers what I thought about them. Now that I'm a manager, I'm not too anxious to be asking for feedback. Why you may ask? (or you might not ask, but I'll tell you anyway)

1. They don't know what you do all day: I know my last manager slept most of his days away, but even though I'm usually busy, my employees really don't know what I'm doing. And in fact, I often can't tell him (see #3)

2. When you're a low level employee, you might not realize how the political game works. IE, I have had to tell people that they're not allowed to send e-mails to teams outside of my group. This is because they're like a rhino in a china shop. I know they see this as a little unfair, but it's necessary if you don't want to really make people upset. And no matter how many times I explain it, it still is "dumb" to them.

3. I'd say this is the largest reason. Unless you're really high up the ladder, you're often stuck doing things that upper management has told you to do, and you need to act happy about it. If my managers demand that all my people show up at 9am instead of 10am, I need to pass that along. And I happen to know it's not a good idea to point fingers up the tree, because the top of the tree hates being pointed at. So it's generally a good idea to just say it as if it's your decision, even if you look bad because of it.

So, either they don't know what I'm doing, they can't understand why I made a decision, or it wasn't my decision in the first place. In all these cases, I'd rather just not deal with the frustration
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 02:12 PM   #30
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by Ceberon

1. They don't know what you do all day

2. When you're a low level employee, you might not realize how the political game works.

3. I'd say this is the largest reason. Unless you're really high up the ladder, you're often stuck doing things that upper management has told you to do, and you need to act happy about it. ... And I happen to know it's not a good idea to point fingers up the tree, because the top of the tree hates being pointed at. So it's generally a good idea to just say it as if it's your decision, even if you look bad because of it.

So, either they don't know what I'm doing, they can't understand why I made a decision, or it wasn't my decision in the first place. In all these cases, I'd rather just not deal with the frustration
Agree with all the above points.

I am sure most of my people have no clue what I do all day. I am the filter.

I filter crap falling down from the upper corporate levels. My job is to filter out the noise and communicate the intent.

I filter out the crap going up the ladder too. Many Senior VPs do not have a clue what happens on the manufacturing floor on a day to day basis and some of the information that needs to be shared requires some "framing" for their benefit as they don't need or want the details...only the results or the very specific need or issue we are trying to communicate with them. Too much detail and they glaze over and start to think you don't have a handle on your job. Too little information (i.e., they hear it from their arc rival in a meeting with their boss) is just as bad. Management has to filter information both ways as well as sideways within the organization for the main benefit of keeping upper and sideways management both informed but also "controlled."

In our spare time we also deal with employee issues, product/production quality problems, regulatory compliance changes and issues, HR program changes, goals, budgets, and attending 8 hours a day of mind-numbing meetings where it take 59 mintues to explain a situation and 10 seconds to tell them No.

I do ask for feedback but I frame it in the context with that indivudual and not my job as a whole. They are in no position to advise me on that...just on how they perceive of our relationship.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 02:23 PM   #31
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
I wonder why there are not too many bosses ask for feedback. They really do not want to hear the truth.
When I was working as a manager, I did seek feedback. It was not always (usually not) well-focused or even a very accurate portrayal of the overall work environment.

Sometimes opinions showed that workers did not understand what your job was or why it was different than theirs. They would often feel like they had a solution to some problem that would, in reality, only created bigger problems in another part of the organization. Sometimes they would want to do the right thing is the wrong way because they didn't understand how other people would react. Opinions often did not show an appreciation for why larger organizational issues may make something reasonable to the company that seemed to be stupid to a small group within the company.

Still, this feedback was valuable to me. At a minimum it indicated to me what explanations I needed to make to motivate people and what training people needed to get in order to make our organization better and to advance the careers of the people who worked with me. Sometimes the feedback was very good and indicated to me where I was failing or needed to improve, or what issues my organization needed to see me raise to management. The dialogue alone was usually worth the effort and without it, I think a manager loses some credibility.

One of the better companies I worked for used a 360 degree evaluation process for all management. Lot's of managers feared this process, but I always learned something valuable from it. It was actually very interesting how similar the reviews were from both the VP's who I worked for and the managers and engineers who I supervised. There were usually a couple of contradictions, though.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 03:31 PM   #32
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
I do ask for feedback but I frame it in the context with that indivudual and not my job as a whole. They are in no position to advise me on that...just on how they perceive of our relationship.
I was going to say the same thing, but couldn't figure out the right wording. I do ask for feedback on anything I could do to help them out or how things could work better between us, but not necessarily about my job. It's more like "What can we do better together.. more emails, less, stop by more often, less, do more reviews with you, less, etc?"

I generally turn those types of items around into some type of growth opportunity, since in general it's something like "I'd like to have more feedback earlier in our project before everything is decided", so I try to bring them into the process as part of a career growth. It's useful to have, as long as the feedback stays focused.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 06:28 PM   #33
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR
One good thing about my current situation is that they've cancelled the process for this year... :
I guess that is 1 bright spot to losing your job...

Quote:
. When you're a low level employee, you might not realize how the political game works. IE, I have had to tell people that they're not allowed to send e-mails to teams outside of my group. This is because they're like a rhino in a china shop. I know they see this as a little unfair, but it's necessary if you don't want to really make people upset. And no matter how many times I explain it, it still is "dumb" to them.
Do you also make sure that they dont staple their TPS reports with the red stapler.... Seriously, to each his own, but you folks that work as middle managers rather than starting your own business to expedite FIRE...God love ya....

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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 10:03 PM   #34
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Re: Annual Review time

Oh dear...

Most people miss that its called "a review".

Its not the time to reveal anything thats news to the employee or the manager. Its a time to gather together whats already known by both parties and "review" it!

If the manager does a good job all year round, the employees should know what the group and individual expected goals and performance is. Someone failing to meet the expected goals and performance shouldnt last through to the review cycle without being made very aware of that fact.

Anyone that thinks politics and the "good old boy network" dont rule and that performance is king? Think again.

And never, ever tell your manager the truth about how you feel about them, unless you know them well enough to know that they really want to hear the truth and you're about to deliver good news. Once again, the review isnt the time to be bringing up new information.

I found that on the employee side, people who understood what was expected of them, when it was expected, and that they'd be rewarded for their successes did succeed. On the management side, suck up, make friends, network, work the system and suck up some more.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 01-31-2007, 10:25 PM   #35
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddy the Turbo Beagle

Do you also make sure that they dont staple their TPS reports with the red stapler.... Seriously, to each his own, but you folks that work as middle managers rather than starting your own business to expedite FIRE...God love ya....
Well, what I was referring to weren't picky political items, I mean items that really make sense. Lets say we're supporting your website, you make 15 million per year. The website crashes during peak business hours. You write an emergency email to your support team saying something like "What the heck happened, we're in the middle of an important campaign and my site just disappeared!! I need it back now!!". Now imagine my employee. He writes back and says something like "You shouldn't be yelling at people, we'll get to it when we have time.". Do you think that you'd take that well? It's just not a smart thing to say. Some people are testy, and when they're important, you walk lightly. That's the kinds of things I'm talking about (perhaps less extreme usually). Just letting information be told to the wrong people, copying the wrong people on certain emails, etc. I guess instead of not knowing the political game, I'd say they don't have a lot of common sense perhaps

As for not starting my own business, I've been thinking about it for awhile, but since I'm not yet in my 30's, I don't feel like I'm slacking too much. Been flying up the old corporate ladder, learning quite a few useful skills. I figure if things slow down, or perhaps I see an opportunity, I'll take it.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 05:11 AM   #36
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceberon
[snips]

It's just not a smart thing to say.

...letting information be told to the wrong people

...they don't have a lot of common sense perhaps

...not yet in my 30's

...flying up the old corporate ladder, learning quite a few useful skills.

...I see an opportunity, I'll take it.
I will now second what someone said earlier, since your earlier initial statement might have been a one time poorly chosen wording, but since then you have solidified and reiterated your general philosophies -- I am glad I don't work for you. You have some real maturing to do, that will hopefully come with introspection and time, and without ruining too many careers of others along the way.

Your most essential job as a manager is to support the people working for you. If they cannot be trusted with the tools needed to do the job, you have selected and/or retained the wrong people, OR you have defanged their own critical thinking skills to such a degree that they simply aren't engaged.

Even the best CEO knows that he alone can actually do little. Please don't call the metaphor police, but you might say that at best he can articulate a vision and be a "Cheerleader with a gun". But using the gun more than a time or two means he is losing talent and desperate, not that he is properly 'culling the herd' of sick and diseased ur uh Middle Managers who take away essential job tools...

ASSIGNMENT: Please do watch Office Space 20 or 30 times, and ask yourself: "Which character do I most resemble, and is that what is best for me, and for others?"

That'd be gr---eat.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 05:24 PM   #37
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
I will now second what someone said earlier, since your earlier initial statement might have been a one time poorly chosen wording, but since then you have solidified and reiterated your general philosophies -- I am glad I don't work for you. You have some real maturing to do, that will hopefully come with introspection and time, and without ruining too many careers of others along the way.
I didn't solidify any general philosophies, at least not in the items you quoted. You quoted items about a specific employee. I was saying that for certain people I had to give them requests they don't agree with. I believe this happens with all managers. The example I gave was extreme (as I think I noted), as usually you want to give extreme examples to show your point. This employee is good at what he does (writing and designing code is his main job position). What he do not do well is communicate. This is fine, because I can handle his communication outside of our group for him.

I've protected his career by asking him to not email outside of our group. If upper managers had their way, he would be long gone by now because of some really poorly worded emails and phone calls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
Your most essential job as a manager is to support the people working for you. If they cannot be trusted with the tools needed to do the job, you have selected and/or retained the wrong people, OR you have defanged their own critical thinking skills to such a degree that they simply aren't engaged.
He can be trusted with the tools to do his job, as he's a great programmer, and has designed some great systems. I would say that I've supported him because I've kept him around, and let him focus on what he enjoys, and what he's good at. He might feel bad because I've asked him not to email people outside of our group, but I believe that's because he just doesn't get social situations (as many computer people don't). He doesn't understand that telling high level executives to "back off" just isn't right.

On the same side, I've also asked people to not request things from him directly, because his job isn't customer service. I've tried to let him work on what his job position allows, and grow within that position. I certainly haven't tried to limit his growth, just tried to protect his job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
Even the best CEO knows that he alone can actually do little. Please don't call the metaphor police, but you might say that at best he can articulate a vision and be a "Cheerleader with a gun". But using the gun more than a time or two means he is losing talent and desperate, not that he is properly 'culling the herd' of sick and diseased ur uh Middle Managers who take away essential job tools...
Unless I'm not understanding you, I think you're suggesting that I've taken away his email rights, which doesn't allow him to perform his job correctly. Or perhaps that I'm limiting his job growth because he's not allowed to email outside of the group. Just wanted to reword things to see if I've got what you're saying.

I am hands on, because I'm not a CEO, and I don't have a massive group with tiers of managers under me. If a system goes down, or a large problem occurs, I take over the official emails. It's just a much better system than what we had before (whoever gets in first writes the email, and not nearly as politely as I would).

I'm not limiting people's growth, as I've mentioned in the past, I've certainly allowed people to grow under me (my team lead having grown from a software engineer because of my encouragement). I also grew that non-social software engineer into an architect, who is even less involved in customer service issues, and more on the tech side. Win/win situation, because customers don't need to deal with him, he doesn't need to deal with customers, and he can focus on what he likes / does well.

Anyway, your email seemed a bit harsh, but I tried to make a reasonable reply back.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #38
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Re: Annual Review time

Thanks for taking the time to respond, and I apologize if my response seemed (actually was) a little harsh.

I have shared what I can from an outside & glancing perspective, and so I don't want to extend, or 'prove', or argue. I would just offer that it would SEEM to me as an outsider that it would be really cool if using terms like:

* "I protected his career" or
* "he just doesn't get social situations" and,
* '[I have asked] people to not request things from him directly.'

were somehow capable of being evolved, in some future situation where you were afforded the latitude , resources, and capability... with ample resources... and time... and coaching... and mentoring... of those folks, to be able to have that list read more like:

* 'I was glad to give the support that allowed him to develop to a hugely marketable key company asset'
* 'He expanded his skills in communication to be able to shift comfortably based on the needs of the audience'
* 'I was able to set up reporting and customer relationships that were directly commensurate with his highly advanced technical capacity.'

In any event, best wishes.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 06:28 PM   #39
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Re: Annual Review time

Wow, I just looked at this thread. No wonder cube guys and gals are so eager to get the hell out.

Not exactly a lifestyle to foster independence and autonomy is it? Or even self respect.

Ha
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 06:33 PM   #40
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by HaHa
. . . Not exactly a lifestyle to foster independence and autonomy is it? Or even self respect.

Ha
Which explains the popularity of the early retirement forums.
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