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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 06:41 PM   #41
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Re: Annual Review time

Oh yeah, it's tough sometimes when I read posts about sailing around Hawaii and I'm in the middle of cube land. Our cube land is so huge, we have street names on each row with who lives there posted - Monopoly Style. I live on Pensylvania.

Talked to my immediate superior, I misunderstood and the raises won't be assigned until April - blech. Supposedly I walk on water then part it, management has taken notice, yadda yadda. Somebody please find this quote when I post that I got a 3% raise come April!
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 07:04 PM   #42
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Not exactly a lifestyle to foster independence and autonomy is it? Or even self respect.
You misunderstand Ha...its truly a complex and delightfully symbiotic relationship that makes all the sense in the world.

You are encouraged to outperform and take risks, think outside the box and do things nobody thought could be done.

Once you've accomplished that, your peers are vaguely annoyed that you're making them look bad, so they complain to their bosses, who either have to admit come review time that their patsys arent as good as you are...orrr...complain to your boss about you in a way that makes your boss uncomfortable with her/her position in the good old boys network of sucking up and kissing ass.

Once that series of transactions takes place, you are fallen upon by these people as though they were a pack of rabid, toothy, vampiric lemmings.

Later you realize that you should just show up, punch the clock, get your reports done on time and marginally complete every task as late as humanly possible with as limited a set of resources and funding as you can manage while telling your direct reports everything is fine, until you nuke them on 'review day'.

Everyone goes home, curses each other, kicks the dog, and all is well.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-01-2007, 09:59 PM   #43
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceberon
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.
I worked with a guy like that, who oddly enough was the best instructor I've ever seen but was completely incapable of interacting with anyone who wasn't one of his students. Not exactly the person you'd trot out for the admiral's tour.

He had no leadership skills. Don't misunderstand me-- it's not that he was a bad leader or coercive or abusive or passive. He was completely devoid of any leadership capability whatsoever. He simply had no freakin' idea what to do when he was in charge, other than to be confident that his guys knew their assigned tasks and would carry them out to everyone's satisfaction. Why would he get involved in that situation? It was like putting Rainman in charge.

It quickly became apparent that the only thing to be done was to put him full-time in the classroom, where the students could rave about his wonderful teaching skills, and occasionally award him the Instructor of the Quarter/Year honors. We buried him in the bottom of the performance-review pile and retired him the microsecond he was eligible.

He's still around the islands, running triathlons and building websites, and seems to be doing just fine.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-02-2007, 11:28 AM   #44
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Re: Annual Review time

I've often found that "verticalizing" someone to make good use of what they're good at to be a good solution.

Unfortunately many companies demand that someone be "well rounded" and "continuously improve". I'm not particularly sure why thats important, but I'm sure theres some reason embedded in the bowels of some old-time human resources curriculum, possibly started as a joke that nobody caught.

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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-02-2007, 07:27 PM   #45
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I've often found that "verticalizing" someone to make good use of what they're good at to be a good solution.

Unfortunately many companies demand that someone be "well rounded" and "continuously improve". I'm not particularly sure why thats important, but I'm sure theres some reason embedded in the bowels of some old-time human resources curriculum, possibly started as a joke that nobody caught.

I may well be biased, having spent 30 years in industry, and the most recent four of them managing 20 Engineers having total product design responsibility. But from my humble start back in the 'good old days', I have worked with enough 'personality deprived' engineers and self-taught ex-hardware code manglers, and other assorted malcontents, and ALSO hired, trained, promoted and retained fully capable professional S/W, H/W and Systems Engineers, that I am sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but good code CAN be architected, commented, maintained, and done quickly as well. Good engineers CAN be expected to not only conceptualize, design, breadboard, test, and then present their ideas, but also to wipe their own drool, and dress themselves. People willing to accept anti-social behavior or one dimensional narrowly vertical skills, as some sort of necessary consequence of technical competence are, IMHO, not doing a whole lot of vetting.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 12:22 AM   #46
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Re: Annual Review time

Hmmm, I would say they are making a rational decision. We have a guy who can't dress himself or speak in public. But he is a wiz at keeping all the networks up and email running 99.99% of the time. The reason it's a rational decision and not a lack of vetting? He get's paid less than 50k - in San Diego where 1000/month gets you an apartment in a scary neighborhood. BTW, he still lives with mom....at 40.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 12:29 AM   #47
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
. . . Good engineers CAN be expected to not only conceptualize, design, breadboard, test, and then present their ideas, but also to wipe their own drool, and dress themselves. . .
I always found that to be true too. If you want an engineer to "wipe their own drool" you simply have to make it clear you expect that and remind them when they fail. Most people want to satisfy their supervisor as long as he isn't a jerk. Tell them explicitly what you want and you get that behavior. If you ignore it and turn your head, you get what you deserve.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 07:18 AM   #48
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Hmmm, I would say they are making a rational decision. We have a guy who can't dress himself or speak in public. But he is a wiz at keeping all the networks up and email running 99.99% of the time. The reason it's a rational decision and not a lack of vetting? He get's paid less than 50k - in San Diego where 1000/month gets you an apartment in a scary neighborhood. BTW, he still lives with mom....at 40.
Please do understand that I don't want to argue with you. If it is rational in totality for that business, then super.

But I would offer that it is possible that other companies (not yours, it seems) have actually subconsciously built more expensive infrastructure (incrementally more HR, extra security, more total engineering staff, higher ratio of managers that extend to lower levels, less strategic flexibility, less bottom up innovation, higher turn over of the frustrated more mobile and salable engineers who DO present the desirable 'complete package' to other employers) by being accepting of the unstated proposition that 'special' technical talents ought to be forgiven of the norms and standards we expect of even our clerical staff.

I liken it to a twenty-something who throws a ton of money into fixing up a $500 dollar car, because it was given to them 'free' by a family member. That 'free' car might end up costing a ton, in being unreliable, and still not even satisfy the new owner at the end of the day, since they felt compelled to stay with it, being 'free' and all, and not because they made a unbiased decision to select that car over other alternatives.


That's really the only point of (hopeful) value I had for replying in this thread. Folks can take it or not, depending on their own estimate of it's worth.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 08:42 AM   #49
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
People willing to accept anti-social behavior or one dimensional narrowly vertical skills, as some sort of necessary consequence of technical competence are, IMHO, not doing a whole lot of vetting.
You seem to imply that there's a whole lot of people to vet.

I got into the military business at the end of the "hollow force" period and kept it up through the downsizing/tech 90s. You couldn't just get rid of your marginal performers when they were the only ones willing to join (or to stay in). Then you'd have conversations about your people that include statements like "Well, it's only his third DUI" or "Yeah, but the lawyer says that wasn't a real felony and it'll be knocked down by the judge" and you'd actually look forward to a three-month patrol.

Never again do I want to have someone working for me who says "Remember how I told you our motorcycle club was going camping last weekend? You might get a call this morning..."
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 11:56 AM   #50
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
You seem to imply that there's a whole lot of people to vet.

I got into the military business at the end of the "hollow force" period and kept it up through the downsizing/tech 90s.
I was long gone by then, myself, but I do hear ya.

Easy solution for that, being the crusty old-schooler that I am, who believes every citizen owes a duty to his country, anyway. It's called "the draft"!

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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 12:11 PM   #51
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Re: Annual Review time

By the way, my 'verticalization' comment was not in reference to socially retarded people that are good at doing some single activity while barely being able to maintain some level of human sentience.

I was more referring to someone who a decent employee with a solid singular strength yet might lag in other areas. When I was a manager in IT I had two guys that were pretty good employees. One could write more bulletproof professional documentation 3x the speed of anyone else and one was the very best meeting organizer i've ever met. Neither one was a developer type or best suited for dealing with customer service issues. So I'd couple the documentation guy with a group of 8 engineers knocking out a project and have him do all the documentation. The engineers could focus on the work while the documenter kept all the paperwork consistent, of good quality and done on time. I'd have the "meeting guy" organize and drive all the group meetings. We always had a solid agenda, meetings ran on time, they stayed organized, and we finished on time with the deliverables we walked into the meeting to obtain.

Yet there was often criticism that "that guy only does xxx although he's very good at it...but he's not as good as this other guy that does 4 different things at a mediocre level".

I disagreed. A focused function made the most of that individuals skills and abilities in the areas where they were superlative and freed other employees who were less skilled (but still capable) to focus on THEIR areas of expertise.

Note that I continued to press people to develop in areas they were less comfortable or proficient in.

I'll have to make a football analogy here...my hometown Patriots have made a pretty good case for building a system that relies on people with very specific skills to do a very specific set of things within a very specific part of the field, rather than trying to develop players who are outstanding athletes and have them running all over the field trying to make big plays. In their system, fairly unexciting athletes and often street free agents can be plugged in, asked to do a few specific but important things, and exist within the systems framework, relying on others around them to do their job.

And they win.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 12:14 PM   #52
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
I disagreed. A focused function made the most of that individuals skills and abilities in the areas where they were superlative and freed other employees who were less skilled (but still capable) to focus on THEIR areas of expertise.
So, a guy made the group better than they were before the guy arrived?

Sounds like teamwork...
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 01:56 PM   #53
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
[snips]

I'll have to make a football analogy here...my hometown Patriots have made a pretty good case for building a system that relies on people with very specific skills to do a very specific set of things within a very specific part of the field, rather than trying to develop players who are outstanding athletes and have them running all over the field trying to make big plays.



And they win.

Go bears.



(Not because of your dialog, I just have a fiver on it at work!)
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 01:56 PM   #54
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Re: Annual Review time

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Originally Posted by Nords
So, a guy made the group better than they were before the guy arrived?

Sounds like teamwork...
Kinda hard to argue with that.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 03:17 PM   #55
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Re: Annual Review time

I'm with you on the bears.

(Not a big blame my offensive line for the loss peyton manning fan here)
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-03-2007, 08:35 PM   #56
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRiP Guy
Please do understand that I don't want to argue with you. If it is rational in totality for that business, then super.

But I would offer that it is possible that other companies (not yours, it seems) have actually subconsciously built more expensive infrastructure (incrementally more HR, extra security, more total engineering staff, higher ratio of managers that extend to lower levels, less strategic flexibility, less bottom up innovation, higher turn over of the frustrated more mobile and salable engineers who DO present the desirable 'complete package' to other employers) by being accepting of the unstated proposition that 'special' technical talents ought to be forgiven of the norms and standards we expect of even our clerical staff.

I liken it to a twenty-something who throws a ton of money into fixing up a $500 dollar car, because it was given to them 'free' by a family member. That 'free' car might end up costing a ton, in being unreliable, and still not even satisfy the new owner at the end of the day, since they felt compelled to stay with it, being 'free' and all, and not because they made a unbiased decision to select that car over other alternatives.


That's really the only point of (hopeful) value I had for replying in this thread. Folks can take it or not, depending on their own estimate of it's worth.
Argue away, my friend! You go out of your way to be polite, I think it would take an blockhead to take your posts offensively.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-04-2007, 06:36 AM   #57
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Re: Annual Review time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Argue away, my friend! You go out of your way to be polite, I think it would take an blockhead to take your posts offensively.




Oh and did I mention:




Go Bears!


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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-20-2007, 10:34 AM   #58
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Re: Annual Review time

I thought I was happily out of the PA business until I sold out to "bigger" company. (Root canal seems more appealing)

Sent this around today (a few sensitive edits):

To all,

One of the many perks of being back in the corporate world, performance appraisals! It was a good 6 years while it lasted. Let me start by saying I think that everyone is doing an equally great job and that is how I will “score” things. If you weren’t doing a great job you wouldn’t be here, and I’ve never been one for ranking people beyond that. Sorry, just not me. Heck, everyone deserves a medal for just hanging in and surviving the acquisition last year.

The way this works is you fill out your appraisal on-line. Each of you should have a user ID and password to log in. Since there were no specific Job Description goals for 2006 you can simply say “not applicable” when asked about meeting goals. They do want us to fill out the performance section (how well you play with others, etc). I am supposed to have two co-workers (they could also be customers, XXX or YYY people) fill out an appraisal for each of you as well. Seems overkill for our small group but them’s the rules. Then I fill one out. We can always tweak things afterwards, it’s not a one shot deal.

I dread all of this but as my fictitious hero says: “takin it off Boss, puttin it on Boss”. Just give me a shout with any questions. Hopefully this won’t take too long.

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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-20-2007, 11:16 AM   #59
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Re: Annual Review time

The 'You are all good, so I'm not ranking you' approach won't wash at all with my Megacorp. In fact, on a tiny bit of overall money, I am expected to show distinct differences in ratings and in raises between my staff. While I find the process distasteful, I would find it even more distasteful to just say "Everyone's important" and that's it.

Each of my staff can develop in areas that are unique to them. Each of them has strengths that ought to be encouraged. Each did something special that I want to point out that I saw and made note of. Each one deserves a chance to sit with me for a good chunk of some rare 'face time' and not only be appraised, but to appraise me and our department as well. Typically at least one is lagging enough that I want to draw their attention to specific observations/feedback I got (and discussed with them during the year), that I now explore if this is something we both agree needs correction.

I try to use the annual review for discussion on all of these.

So to that part, I do try to get whatever good can be gotten from it. But the Megacorp formalisms, politics, and 'boundaries' for raises, promotions and such, is what I hate, myself.
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Re: Annual Review time
Old 02-20-2007, 11:41 AM   #60
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Re: Annual Review time

There are people who are a fit for megacorp and folks who do their best in an entrepreunal setting.

Since you have been acquired consider whether or not you are a good fit for the long term, and maybe who in your team are similarly situated. I am not suggesting that you don't comply with megacorp's policies and practices, just that you may want to start planning your next move. The acquisition agreement may tie you there for a while, but the best course is the one YOU control.
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