Creating a Cut-throat Culture

Johanna’s on a (very excellent) rant about forced ranking.

I concur.

Some people are convinced that forced ranking is a Good Thing. Usually they have arguments such as “everyone needs to know where they stand,” or “we need some way to weed out the poor performers.”


Actually, it’s not terribly helpful for people to know where they stand in a company-wide, department-wide ranking, or even a group ranking. In wide rankings, you end up comparing jobs that are dis-similar. In small group rankings, you destroy teamwork.

As for weeding out poor performers, it’s a manager’s job to a) hire people who are a good fit, b) encourage people to find a better fit (maybe at a different company) when it’s not working (usually helps to timebox this, so you aren’t encouraging someone to find a better fit forever).

3/14 Thanks to Andy for pointing out a couple of typing errors that spell checker missed.