Innovative Performance Evaluation, the Beer Wheel

Posted by jlubans on February 15, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: Beer Performance Appraisal Wheel

Recently, while touring the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, our guide pointed out the beer tasting wheel used by a 40 member panel – drawn from the staff – of tasters when rating (whether to sell or not) the various flavors produced by this around-the-clock craft brewery.
Daily, thousands of bottles and cans are filled, crated and shipped all over America's Pacific Northwest.
Daily, hundreds of kegs are trucked to bars and restaurants.
The tasting wheel reminded me of an organizational ritual that occurs around this time of year: the annual performance appraisal!
What if we gave supervisors (those doing the ratings) a wheel like this to describe what’s good or not so good about their direct reports. A form of crib sheet like used by teachers in preparing home reports on how Johnny is doing or not doing in school.
No, I am not suggesting a dittoing of the wheel’s terms, like the off-flavor “acetaldehyde” (green apples). Then again, maybe I am!
Surely we could borrow many of the terms to move away from the clichéd and meaningless and to enlarge upon our laconic rating scales: meets expectations (IOW, we have our eye on you, but it is not for promotion), exceeds expectations, far exceeds expectations (a self-actualized person!) and, at the bottom, does not meet expectations, ranging from a five point to ten point scale with liberal decimalization in-between depending on the fussiness of the organization’s culture.
First, a positive word about using those people doing the work in evaluating what they produce. Not long ago, beer assessments were left to designated tasters, those who specialize in quality control or maybe just the brew master. While these people still have an important role, the idea of enlarging the tasting pool makes perfect sense – it’s a form of letting go, a necessary step in leadership if competent people are to do their best job.
One of the earliest business essays on worker involvement in decision-making appeared in the Harvard Business Review as "How I Learned To Let My Workers Lead”. More a personal testament than one of HBRs patented survey articles with 50,000 participants, this essay is about one man’s decision to share decision-making in a sausage factory.
He let the workers taste the sausage; no longer was he the lone taster! According to him, everything got better. I can well believe it.
Back to the wheel;
I see using terms like these to describe staff and performance. My favorites are followed by an exclamation point.
Under TASTE – in the wheel - appears a sub category: “Mouthfeel”
Under that term there’s
Warming!
Carbonation (gassy or flat)
Astringent
Metallic
Mouth coating
Alkaline
Bitter!
Salty
Again, for TASTE, there’s “Oxidized” or “Stale”.
Descriptors include:
Moldy!
Leathery
Papery
Catty!
Under the broad term of ODOR, these terms apply:
Aromatic!
Nutty!
Cereal
Roasted
Phenolic (band aids)
Fatty
Sulfury.
Need to define aromatic? No problem:
Alcoholic
Solvent-like
Estery (another solvent-like off flavor)
Fruity!
Acetaldehyde
Floral!
Hoppy!
Use the terms that fit your high and low performers. Make up new ones. Give it a go.

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My book, Fables for Leaders is only a click away:


Also, My 2010 democratic workplace book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019

Phaedrus’ THE TREES UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE GODS*

Posted by jlubans on February 07, 2019  •  Leave comment (0)

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Caption: An ancient olive tree in Sicily.

The Gods in days of yore made choice of such Trees as they wished to be under their protection.
The Oak pleased Jupiter, the Myrtle Venus, the Laurel Phœbus, the Pine Cybele, the lofty Poplar Hercules.
Minerva, wondering why they had chosen the barren ones, enquired the reason.
Jupiter answered: “That we may not seem to sell the honor for the fruit.” “Now, so heaven help me,” said she, “let any one say what he likes, but the Olive is more pleasing to me on account of its fruit.”
Then said the Father of the Gods and the Creator of men:
“O daughter, it is with justice that you are called wise by all; unless what we do is useful, vain is our glory.”

This little Fable admonishes us to do nothing that is not profitable.
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While there's much to be said
for the decorative, there’s as much or more for the productive. We need both what’s pleasing to the eye and what’s nourishing to the rest of the body.
While appearances have never been my strong suit, I do understand that when I’m meeting people for the first time, I should not let a mismatched pair of socks or a soup-stained tie give the wrong impression.
I knew one man who never altered his look: black leather jacket and jeans. And he smoked like the proverbial chimney.
No doubt an eye catcher and off putting to some, but what he offered was an unparalleled understanding of the Internet and where it might be going. I wonder how he is doing.

*Source: THE COMEDIES OF TERENCE AND THE FABLES OF PHÆDRUS.
TRANSLATED By HENRY THOMAS RILEY, B.A.
TO WHICH IS ADDED A METRICAL TRANSLATION OF PHÆDRUS,
By CHRISTOPHER SMART.
LONDON: GEORGE BELL & SONS, 1887.

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My book, Fables for Leaders is only a click away:


Also, My 2010 democratic workplace book, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2019