Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Move ’em up, clear ’em out

Next Wednesday (Oct. 12), the Toronto Venture Group is holding a breakfast meeting featuring a speaker on Topgrading – the title of a book with a revolutionary approach to HR development. It might be worth attending.

The book is Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People, by industrial psychologist Bradford D. Smart. It came out in 1999, but its principles seem to be gaining traction now. The idea basically is for companies to rank their employees as A, B or C players – A being those in the top 10% in their field. Then companies must learn to develop and attract more A players – and clear out the C players.

Sounds like a plan to me. As an employee, journalist and consultant, I have constantly been frustrated by companies’ unwillingness to cull staff for poor performance, potential or attitude (It’s not just the right thing to do for the organization – I believe it’s the decent thing to do in the long run.)

And most companies have no clue about training and developing their best people, beyond “You’re doing a good job. Keep it up.” So bringing some discipline and sense of process to both these neglected management functions is long overdue.

This technique probably works best with growth companies whose needs are always changing and growing, which is probably why the TVG is getting involved. Should be a good session.

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