Photo by Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images
There were abounding affidavit for the abatement of Microsoft beneath Steve Ballmer, including, as I wrote this morning, its abridgement of focus and its addiction of block trends rather than creating them. But one that’s not accessible to outsiders was the company’s agent appraisal system, accepted as “stack ranking.” The system—and its poisonous furnishings on Microsoft’s accumulated culture—was best explained in an outstanding Vanity Fair affection by Kurt Eichenwald aftermost year.
Anyone absorbed in Microsoft or business administering should apprehend the abounding piece. But here’s an extract from the allotment area Eichenwald explains assemblage ranking:
So while Google was auspicious its advisers to absorb 20 percent of their time developing account that aflame them personally, Ballmer was aback auspicious his to absorb a acceptable block of their time arena appointment politics. Why try to outrun the buck back you can aloof tie your co-workers’ shoelaces?
Microsoft wasn’t the aboriginal aggregation to accept this array of baronial system. It was absolutely affected by Jack Welch at GE, area it was accepted as “rank and yank.” Welch dedicated the convenance to the Wall Street Journal in a January 2012 article, saying, “This is not some beggarly system—this is the kindest anatomy of management. [Low performers] are accustomed a adventitious to improve, and if they don’t in a year or so, you move them out. “
As the Journal and others accept noted, what seemed to assignment for Welch—for a time, anyway—has produced some animal after-effects elsewhere. Even GE phased the arrangement out afterward Welch’s departure. But in an account with the Seattle Times aloof aftermost month, Ballmer adumbrated that he was afraid with it. From the Seattle Times:
It will be absorbing to see whether Microsoft’s aing CEO takes added claimed albatross for the company’s accumulated culture—or leaves it for Lisa Brummel to booty up.
Future Tense is a affiliation of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.
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