Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Of all the nonsense visited upon the world by Human Resources professionals (even the term "human resources" makes me gag. So technocratic and un-human is it) perhaps the most invidious is the 360-degree review.
Yes, in the spirit of feckless and responsibility-free collaboration, in an effort to make everything an ostensible learning experience, or a team-building opportunity or to make sure that "everybody has a seat at the table" (what fucking table. I don't see any table...) companies now ask everyone to solicit opinions on their performance, their behavior and their character from, say, half a dozen different people from half a dozen different departments.
Here's an analogy: "Roy is doing my root canal this afternoon. He didn't go to dental school but he got a really great 360."
Snort snort snort. (That's the sound of a bull shitting.)
Look, as far as senior creatives go, chances are you want professionals who've spent years in the business learning their craft. You hire them for their brains and passion and talent. Sometimes those qualities are accompanied by a certain volatility or even brusqueness. Those ups and downs are often what make an exceptional person.
360s, however, and the HR people who propagate their use, have brought the Lithium-ization of our workforce. We want friendly, like the person who greets you at TGI Friday's. We want conciliatory and kind, like an ur-Mommy. We want compromise and a saccharine egalitarianism. In other words, we want people who won't offend--who would do well in focus groups.
Those aren't the people who lead great companies, make great advances, produce great creative.
Take your choice. A sandbox where we all get along. Or a place you're proud to work.
Posted by george tannenbaum at 12:22 PM