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Jack Welsh's enthusiastic endorsement ,whilst CEO of GE, made the Performance Review the management fad that swept the world.How many hours did I waste preparing those damn reviews? It was like the Emperor's suit.I hated them and knew that they were ineffective yet I went along with the charade.I had no choice.You could not swim against that tide.
Mind you it wasn't just Performance Reviews as anyone who had worked in the corporate world over the past 40 years has had to endure wave after wave of mangement fads and buzz words.Mission statements,TQM,MBO,synergies, the list goes on.Imagine flying half way around the world to a senior management meeting to spend two days hammering out some stupid and utterly irrelevant mission statement and arguing for hours about some point of syntax in a session moderated by an obscenely highly paid consultant whilst the business was in desperate trouble.Yes it happened to me.This was fiddling whilst Rome burnt on an industrial scale.
And it's still happening-although not to me fortunately.The fads still keep coming.Fad du jour is social media.Every company worth its salt is "engaged" with social media.I am not making this up-but the bag which contains the cat litter for our cats' litter tray says "follow us on Facebook".Neither of my cats has a Facebook account- well not that I know about- and I don't personally use cat litter as we have a conventional toilet in our house.So who exactly do they expect to follow their Facebook account and why on earth would you follow the Facebook account of a cat litter bagging company?
Millions of manhours at enormous cost are being directed by business at "customer engagement " through social media.Most of it is complete drivel.You only have to see the comments written even on serious media sites to realise that social media is hardly a communication channel which is brimming with well articulated thoughts and ideas advanced by well informed and reasonable people.It can only be a matter of time before companies wake up to the fact that a very high percentage of social media interaction is a wagonload of bovine manure.
The same goes for all those online surveys and review requests you receive every time you enter into any sort of transaction.Last week I renewed the insurance for one of my cars online.It took about three minutes-a few clicks,a few numbers and it was done.Then I received a 10 question online survey about the "experience".What can I say?
I now do not review any hotels,restaurants,airlines,rental car operators or any other service providers I use when I travel.The wisdom of this stance came for me a few weeks ago when I was looking at restaurants in Seattle on the app "Open Table".The top listing was for an expensive restaurant-we are talking $45 main course dishes- and I happened to glance at the first line of the first customer review.It read "The fries are delicious......" Really what does that say about that person and the value of the customer reviews? The fries are actually not half bad at McDonalds.That idiot thinks that his stupid opinion about the fries in a very expensive restaurant is worth sharing.Give me strength.