Book Me For A Speech

My Writing and Ranting

Press Room

Good Books

« Squeaky Wheels, The Health Care Debate, and Student Complaints About Grades | Main | On noticing that you don't notice »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

rich solomon

Reading the "dumbest management practices" comments following the recent BNET piece I was struck by how many people cited annual performance reviews as useless, contrived, empty, fake, and so forth. Wonder if some of this comes from the tight economic times and the tendency of companies to consider their workforce a "cost" to be cut when the upward flow of capital seems at risk. I suspect things would be different if the annual review was accompanied by a profit-sharing check.
I agree with many of the comments here that fundamentally the undervaluing of employees by companies and the tendency of the same employees to put up with at least mild mistreatment will take a lot more than an upturn in economic activity to improve, should that actually happen. I think we're well past the point where those "101 ways to reward employees without paying them" tricks will work. Genuine consideration, kindness and respect, honesty and openness all make for positive reciprocity in human relationships, often in ways more subtle than if someone stays in or bails out. In fact, the "stupid management practices" often have roots in the mistrust that arises when these attributes are absent.

Wally Bock

I join in lauding you for the post, Bob. But I also concur with several of the comments that even with the jobs god comes back from the ground it still won't be easy to change jobs. I think there will be an upsurge in leaving, but I think the big benefit will be to companies who have treated people right and will gain resources to try new things.

Kim L.

This was a great post. I think it takes someone who is not directly involved in a situation, whether it be a good or bad situation, to be able to fully see and understand the possible future consequences to the current actions. For the distant future, the economy is going to be rebuilding itself and employees are going to want the support from their employer that their work is valued, that they are valued as an employee, and that they have both their customers' and employees' interest at heart. If a company shows its employees that they care about their well-being, even through tough times, and that the company is doing the best they can in doing so, then that's all the employees can expect during these times. If the employees see that, I believe there would be no problem in keeping a good company reputation and valuable employees.

I work for a company who, in my opinion, has not handled the economic downturn very well in the eyes of the employees. I strongly believe in this article, and I am interested to see what happens when the coin flips and the company is back on the up-and-up.

Thanks for linking this article, as well as describing the real possibilities from the company action.

Ajo Cherian

I'm not for a slow economy but one benefit of it is that it will force companies and employees to be tested leading to some shakeups that may be for the better. As with people, a company's true character will show in the trials rather than the good times.

Ruth Sanderson

Steven M R Covey in his book The Spped of Trust, talks about how
"trust" in companies was eroding
even before the down turn so I am not suprised to read some of your data Bob.

Some people believe that once trust is lost (and lets face it the public have lost a lot of trust in banks and finacial institutions) you can't get it back.

Covey puts forward the idea that trust can be rebuilt and I agree.
It comes down to the character and competence of leaders.

You are right Bob talent walks and young talent even quicker than before.

Encouraging conversations around trust and building or rebuilding
would be a place to start.

George Smith

This was a great post. But I think that, even with the job market recovering, people will still be content working in jobs with low approval ratings. Even as the job market turns around, it doesn't seem that it will be so easy to jump ship and find the perfect job.


I'm not sure where to post this, but I just read your book and it seems... profound. So profound that it's obvious, which is a deep compliment I hope.

One of the many thought rattling around in my brain is the idea of recognizing when you're being a jerk. When you're in a conflict with someone and they call you that, are they automatically right? And, more to the point, is it helpful to label people (even as temporary a-hats)? Or is this one of those "no one can demean you without your permission" ideas?

An unrelated thought rattling around in my brain is that I fit the accusation of being attracted to a-hats. Meaning passionate, forthright people who like to think in unique and unusual ways, and who then rub up against status quo defenders. More to the point, I divide the world into these guys and the doormats. So I'm trying to understand why I fail to notice the balanced guys (who are they?), there's obviously some false-negatives or false-positives going on.

A third idea rattling around is: am I jerk when I snap at someone above me? It was funny to realize that I try much harder to "kiss-down" than I do "kiss-up". It's the idea that I've been trained to be nice to people below me, but to hash out ideas as equals. Superiors aren't always on the same boat about equals.

A fourth idea is collateral damage: a lot of the damage comes before I label someone, the frustrated, wondering if I'm overreacting, trying to decide how to deal with it, "what am I doing wrong?" place. Once you know that someone is basically unreasonable, then detachment is possible. But since most people aren't reasonable or un-, there's a constant "reality check" going on.


I agree 100%; great post, and such perfect timing for it. Once more jobs start to open back up and companies are hiring again the people have been treated poorly are sure to leave and take their talent elsewhere. Many bosses don't realize this, and are in for a big surprise when they start to lose workers due to their bad reputation. I'm thankful my boss isn't this way. We actually had a reduction of workforce last week and the President of the company scheduled three different meeting times so all 1500 employees could hear from his mouth his intentions and where he was hoping to go next. I feel like it helped calm everyone's nerves and misconceptions.

Sharon Markovsky

Jerks, jerks everywhere and not a job to have...

Bob, I think you are right on with this blog. I am constantly bombarded with horror stories about bosses/companies that are just hammering their people to do more with less. As it is I am doing the job of 2 1/2 people because of a layoff in the beginning of this year.

My favorite "boss" line is: "you are just likely to have a job in this economy." I feel so motivated! Because we always think of a great comeback about two seconds after the jerk leaves you to lick your wounds…how great would it be to be able to say: "You know what buddy, you should feel the same way, cause it is unlikely that you will keep your job when you loose more than half your staff when this economy improves.”

Bob, again this was a great blog. I hope the senior and mid-level executives in companies throughout this great land of ours read your words of wisdom!


I think a number of experienced people at my employer will jump ship when the job market turns. We are experiencing massive wage compression issues.

About a year ago, my employer started implementing tighter cost controls. To avoid losing job postings or contractors; many people were quickly hired at higher (often much higher)than company average wages for a job. Sometimes they were earning just much as the positions above them.

To add more tinder; annual merit increases were canceled in 2009. Now the spark: We have been extensively reorganizing throughout the year so this situation is becoming more apparent.

I do not see the company budgeting large amounts of money to correct the internal equity issues. Rather people will leave and they will fill the position at a higher wage level.

Dwayne Phillips

Studies and data document once again what most people know - People don't like working for jerks (or whatever synonym you prefer).

What I see happening is that the younger people (below 30) are far less tolerant of this than I was 25 years ago. I have seen college grads quite their white collar jobs and work as a waiter instead of working for a jerk.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Asshole Survival

Scaling Up

Good Boss Bad Boss

No Asshole Rule

Hard Facts

Weird Ideas

Knowing -Doing Gap

The No Asshole Rule:Articles and Stories