Dick Grote and “Rank and Yank”: Argument that Performance Management is ‘Hard’, Requires a Perfect World and Perfect Management–Such Does not Exist

Dick Grote of Grote Consulting has posted a video clip (see below) stating that “performance management” is supposed to be difficult. Given that he speaks exclusively to management, this difficulty is supposed to be given only to employees through a forced distribution curve (or “rank and yank” or so-called pay-for-performance systems).

A serious flaw of Grote’s work and of rank and yank is that it does not consider that grave errors will be made with such a system in a country like the United States, with an extensive practice of chattel slavery and pervasive racial discrimination, where there is still income and racial inequality as well as profound power concentration in the hands of a relative few. In such circumstances, rank and yank simply cannot work as it becomes an instrument to enforce illegitimate power and unfair and illegal bias toward members of minority groups. Equality, theoretically construed, does not exist in reality.

Yet, shockingly, rank and yank depends on a presumption of theoretical equality (and that perfect human beings are selected into management–certainly not true).  It is no surprise then that rank and yank has not worked well in any organization in which it has been implemented, except by distributing risk and financial loss to the powerless.

In addition. the civil rights laws and regulations and minute, but at least continuing, social improvements must not be turned back because of unfair “performance management” practices.

Policymakers must be careful.

Employees, also, must investigate potential employers and their management to see if “incentive pay,” “pay-for-performance plans,” or rank and yank is being used in the workplace. If so, an appropriate compensation for the risky, unstable work environment such plans cause is significantly more cash compensation.