Bell Curve Branding by Roz Usheroff
“Inherently the problem in ranking is that, unless it’s based purely on objective data—which you rarely see outside of a call center, it brings in a human element. There’s no way to data-fy that,” says Stevenson. In other words, managers’ prejudices and stray opinions get transformed and codified in what appears to be raw data. This seems to be one of the specific complaints being made by Yahoo employees: The rankings are both high-stakes and completely arbitrary.
The above excerpt from the recent Bloomberg Businessweek Technology article “Yahoo’s Latest HR Disaster: Ranking Workers on a Curve” speaks volumes in terms of how perceptions undermine the accuracy of rating employee effectiveness utilizing a bell curve model.
Popularized in the 80s by GE’s Jack Welch, the method of ranking employees according to this curve model is with increasing frequency being dismissed as ineffective and worse yet, a company morale killer.
Even though the use of this “forced ranking system” has it has been called is on the decline, the underlining message relating to arbitrary perceptions should not be ignored.
In fact this latter point is one of the key factors that led to my writing The Future of You! Creating Your Enduring Brand. Specifically the undeniable truth that if you fail to manage your personal brand, someone else will manage it for you. Against the backdrop of the aforementioned prejudices and stray opinions, this is indeed an unnerving proposition. Especially when you consider the fact that most people are great at delivering value, but are not as effective at promoting their value to their organization and beyond.”
The question this raises is even more significant . . . how does my boss and those with whom I come in contact on a daily basis assess my value in terms of helping them and the organization achieve their goals?
As I wrote in my book, your value and therefore your brand is the sum of every experience others have had with you. So the first thing you should do is quantify their experience. In other words what would be the response if someone was asked “what has been your experience with _____________, and what has it meant to you in terms of your success?
If you can answer this question, you are very likely headed in the right direction. If not, what are you waiting for?
In my new book The Future of You! Creating Your Enduring Brand, I show you how to seek out feedback from different stakeholders in order to understand what people think about you, how consistently you are being perceived, and whether or not you need to modify behavior.