Cheesy Performance Appraisal

Posted by jlubans on November 09, 2021


Recently, the WSJ featured an in-depth story on how the Cheesecake Factory restaurant chain survived the epidemic’s restrictions and shut downs.
What tweaked my interest even more than the survival aspect were the 42 suggestions from the Factory’s 500-page operations manual to describe its signature cheesecake deserts.
Words and phrases like “Amazing”, “Chewy”, “Extraordinary”, and “Out of this world” reminded me of the Beer Wheel at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. There, the Beer Wheel is used to identify unique flavors in their several beers. I adapted the wheel, semi- facetiously, to performance appraisal (PA) systems which remain all the rage in corporate America.
(Parenthetically, how is PA going to be conducted for the millions working from home? After all, in some organizations PA is the one thing which elevates the manager above the worker.)
Now, I am not sure if the Factory requires performance appraisal for its workers but the door stopper of an operations manual suggests a strong probability.
The WSJ tells us that the operations manual includes “roughly a full page of rules for the handling of strawberries for its cakes and a 12-step breakdown for hot tea service.”
Whether they do or don’t, here are some of the 42 cheescake terms applied to the traditional and ubiquitous five category scale of corporate PA.
5. Exceptional: Unbelievable, Heavenly, Yum-a-licious
4. Exceeds Expectations: Tart, Mouthwatering, Layered
3. Meets Expectations: Baked, Drizzled, Full, Covered
2. Improvement Needed: Chunky, Dripping, Sinful, Oozing
1. Unsatisfactory: Crispy, Decadent, Gooey, Loaded
Yes, I know, just like in the bizness world some of these terms, like “gooey” and “oozing”, are interchangeable and could be used at either levels 1 or 2.
Or, if you are a boss who likes his workers gooey and oozing, you might want to save these terms for categories 5 and 4.
So, there you have a helpful guide, augmenting the Beer Wheel, for conducting your next appraisal.
If your use of the Factory’s terms gets you in trouble with the boss or the policy makers in your organization who love PA but exempt themselves from the dreaded ritual, console yourself at the nearest Cheesecake Factory store.
We have it from a very good source that their cheesecake is Yummy and Scrumptious, indeed, Fantastic.
20% off Through December 31 2021
No supply-chain issues here! My books are printed and shipped in the USA, so when you buy my latest book of workplace fables you can expect speedy delivery. Something to keep in mind as the gift giving season looms.
And, of course, there's no memory chip shortages for printed books :))

And, don’t forget my book on democratic workplaces, Leading from the Middle

© Copyright all text John Lubans 2021

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