Monday, February 25, 2013


The secret relationship between Annual Performance Reviews, Hitler and You!

You’re probably a nice person, how easy would it have been to persuade you to play a small part in the Holocaust?  In an interview between former Nazi Officer Adolf Eichmann and the author Hannah Arendt, the author asked Eichmann if it was difficult to persuade people to send all of those Jewish people to their deaths? Eichmann replied that it was actually very easy because bureaucratic language allowed it. They simply had to say that they had “no choice”—that they were just “following orders.”

Much of the annual review process is a measure of how well you practice followership.  Why does IT continue to miss deadlines, go over budget and almost always deliver late? Is it for the same reason that the masses are following a Hitler-like leader?

Let's remember that Hitler was democratically elected and was really good in using leadership-oriented words.  Eichmann and his fellow officers used the word Amtssprache (office talk), to justify their horrific actions during the Holocaust. It was policy, I was just doing my job. I was just doing what I was told to by people in charge.

But you wouldn’t do that would you? How easy would it be for you to be persuaded to electrocute a stranger into unconsciousness despite their screams for you to stop? I bet if you were to look at the annual reviews of those whom you personally consider leaders, they are the ones that buck the trend, do mediocre at best in terms of how they are measured on their annual review but otherwise kick ass at delivering high quality working software, on time and below budget.

Be careful when you hear the word leadership being used in a sentence. Everyone has a different definition...

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