Thursday, May 17, 2012


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Christian Bible as codex

A codex (Latin caudex for "trunk of a tree" or block of wood, book; plural codices) is a book in the format used for modern books, with separate pages normally bound together and given a cover.

Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement of the scroll, the dominant form of book in the ancient world, has been termed the most important advance in the history of the book prior to the invention of printing. The spread of the codex is often associated with the rise of Christianity, which adopted the format for the Bible early on. First described by the 1st century AD Roman poet Martial, who already praised its convenient use, the codex achieved numerical parity with the scroll around 300 AD, and had completely replaced it throughout the now Christianised Greco-Roman world by the 6th century.

The codex holds considerable practical advantages over other book formats, such as compactness, sturdiness, ease of reference (a codex is random access, as opposed to a scroll, which is sequential access), and especially economy; unlike the scroll, both recto and verso could be used for writing. Although the change from rolls to codices roughly coincides with the transition from papyrus to parchment as favourite writing material, the two developments are quite unconnected. In fact, any combination of codices and scrolls on the one hand with papyrus and parchment on the other is technically feasible and well attested from the historical record.

Although technically any modern paperback is a codex, the term is now reserved for manuscript (hand-written) books which were produced from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages. The scholarly study of these manuscripts from the point of view of the bookbinding craft is called codicology, while the study of ancient documents in general is called paleography.


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Reproduced Roman-style wax tablet, from which the codex evolved

The Romans used precursors made of reusable wax-covered tablets of wood for taking notes and other informal writings. Two ancient polyptych, a pentatych and octotych, excavated at Herculaneum employed a unique connecting system that presages later sewing on thongs or cords. At the turn of of the 1st century CE, a kind of folded parchment notebook called pugillares membranei in Latin, became commonly used for writing in the Roman Empire. This term was used by both the pagan poet Martial and Christian apostle Paul the Apostle. Martial used the term with reference to gifts of literature exchanged by Romans during the festival of Saturnalia. According to T.C. Skeat "…in at least three cases and probably in all, in the form of codices" and he theorized that this form of notebook was invented in Rome and then "…must have spread rapidly to the Near East…"  In his discussion of one of the earliest pagan parchment codices to survive from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, Eric Turner seems to challenge Skeat's notion when stating "…its mere existence is evidence that this book form had a prehistory" and that "early experiments with this book form may well have taken place outside of Egypt." Early codices of parchment or papyrus appear to have been widely used as personal notebooks, for instance in recording copies of letters sent (Cicero Fam. 9.26.1). The pages of parchment notebooks were commonly washed or scraped for re-use, called a palimpsest; and consequently writings in a codex were considered informal and impermanent.

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Early-Christian Gnostic text from a codex discovered in Nag Hammadi (Egypt) in 1945

As far back as the early 2nd century, there is evidence that the codex—usually of papyrus—was the preferred format among Christians: in the library of the Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum (buried in AD 79), all the texts (Greek literature) are scrolls; in the Nag Hammadi "library", secreted about AD 390, all the texts (Gnostic Christian) are codices. Despite this comparison, a fragment of a non-Christian parchment Codex of Demosthenes, De Falsa Legationefrom Oxyrhynchus in Egypt demonstrates that the surviving evidence is insufficient to conclude whether Christians played a major, if not central, role in the development of early codices, or if they simply adopted the format to distinguish themselves from Jews. The earliest surviving fragments from codices come from Egypt and are variously dated (always tentatively) towards the end of the 1st century or in the first half of the 2nd. This group includes the Rylands Library Papyrus P52, containing part of St John's Gospel, and perhaps dating from between 125 and 160.

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Early medieval bookcase containing about ten codices depicted in the Codex Amiatinus (ca. 700)

In Western culture the codex gradually replaced the scroll. From the 4th century, when the codex gained wide acceptance, to the Carolingian Renaissance in the 8th century, many works that were not converted from scroll to codex were lost to posterity. The codex was an improvement over the scroll in several ways. It could be opened flat at any page, allowing easier reading; the pages could be written on both front and back (recto and verso); and the codex, protected within its durable covers, was more compact and easier to transport.

The codex also made it easier to organize documents in a library because it had a stable spine on which the title of the book could be written. The spine could be used for the incipit, before the concept of a proper title was developed, during medieval times.

Although most early codices were made of papyrus, papyrus was fragile and supplies from Egypt, the only place where papyrus grew and was made into paper, became scanty; the more durable parchment and vellum gained favor, despite the cost.

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Aztec warriors as shown in the Florentine Codex.

The codices of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica had the same form as the European codex, but were instead made with long folded strips of either fig bark (amatl) or plant fibers, often with a layer of whitewash applied before writing. New World codices were written as late as the 16th century (see Maya codices and Aztec codices). Those written before the Spanish conquests seem all to have been single long sheets folded concertina-style, sometimes written on both sides of the local amatl paper. So, strictly speaking they are not in codex format, but they more consistently have "Codex" in their usual names than do other types of manuscript.

In the Far East, the scroll remained standard for far longer than in the West. There were intermediate stages, such as scrolls folded concertina-style and pasted together at the back and books were printed only on one side of the paper. The Jewish religion still retains the Torah scroll, at least for ceremonial use.


Among the experiments of earlier centuries, scrolls were sometimes unrolled horizontally, as a succession of columns. (The Dead Sea Scrolls are a famous example of this format.) This made it possible to fold the scroll as an accordion. The next step was then to cut the folios, sew and glue them at their centers, making it easier to use the papyrus or vellum recto-verso as with a modern book. In traditional bookbinding, these assembled folios trimmed and curved were called "codex" in order to differentiate it from the "Case" which we now know as "Hard cover". Binding the Codex was clearly a different procedure from binding the "Case". This terminology still in use some 50 or 60 years ago has been nearly abandoned. Some commercial bookbinders may refer to the cover and the inside of the book instead, but a few others, attached to their traditions, still use the terms Codex and Case.

This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia® - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the Wikipedia® encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.
Thanks to Encyclopedia The Free Dictionary / Farlex, Inc.

If Customers Ask For More Choice, Don't Listen

In his provocative book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz's warns that giving consumers more product choices actually lowers their purchase satisfaction. Schwartz reasons that having too many options makes us fear missing out, which causes anxiety, analysis paralysis and regret.

But many marketers have dismissed Schwartz's warning, arguing that today's consumers expect a wide range of options and have learned to filter greater amounts of information. Marketers' own research usually backs this up. When asked, consumers in these studies almost always say they want more choice. And, in fact, one of the top reasons shoppers give for not making a purchase is "couldn't find the right option." Understandably, therefore, marketers are reluctant to cut back on SKUs for fear of disappointing consumers and losing sales. Instead, companies continue to develop a growing array of niche products to fit every imagined need and aggressively promote them.

At the Corporate Executive Board, we've been exploring purchase behaviors in this world of infinite options. Our survey of over 7,000 consumers worldwide sheds new light on how consumers really feel about all this choice. (To download industry cuts of our survey findings, visit CEB's Decision Simplicity resource center)

On the one hand, the majority of consumers in our study report that they have "just the right amount of information" and "just the right amount of choice." Clearly, they don't see a problem. Yet when we looked at what consumers actually do, rather than what they say, we get a different picture. Consumers spend far longer researching products today than they did in the past, and yet 70 percent don't make a decision one way or another about which brand to buy until the point of purchase. Even after making a purchase, one fifth of consumers continue to research the product to check if they made the right choice. Forty percent, meanwhile, admit to feeling anxious about the purchase decision they made. All this suggests that consumers are actually overwhelmed, unable to effectively process the flood of product information and choices.

These are not the behaviors of well-adapted shoppers who have learned to navigate huge volumes of information effectively. These are the behaviors of overwhelmed shoppers who struggle to process information and unnecessarily agonize over otherwise trivial purchases. The problem is cognitive overload — the result of excess demands on our cognitive powers that lead to poor decision-making.

And this isn't just a problem for consumers. Cognitive overload is bad for brands too. The harder consumers find it to make purchase decisions, the more likely they are to overthink the decision and repeatedly change their minds or give up on the purchase altogether. In fact, regression analysis points to decision complexity and resulting cognitive overload as the single biggest barrier to purchase.

How can brands reconcile this reality with consumers' supposed desire for options? Smart brands reduce the effort of making choices without reducing the appearance of choice. Cutting back on less popular SKUs, for example, can actually increase consumers' perception of choice, while making it easier for them to choose by helping them spot the right brand for them. Some progressive brands simplify product choice without reducing choice by helping consumers navigate and trust product information and weigh their options.

The antidote for overloaded consumers isn't more options at the store shelf, it's decision simplicity.

Karen Freeman is a managing director with the Corporate Executive Board. Patrick Spenner is a managing director and Anna Bird is a senior researcher in CEB's Sales, Marketing and Communications practice.

Thanks to Karen Freeman, Patrick Spenner and Anna Bird / Blogs HBR / Harvard Business School Publishing

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5 Things To Ask In A Job Interview

"Do you have any questions for me?"

This is typically the final question you will be asked in a job interview.

Ask the wrong questions and you might look like a bad fit. Ask no questions and you might look indifferent, inexperienced, or uneducated about the position.

Asking the right questions — aside from proving yourself to the hiring manager — is one of your best (and last) chances to determine whether the job and company are a good fit for you.

Here are five questions to get you started.

1. Why is the position vacant?

Jobs open up for a variety of reasons — some positive, some negative. Was the job created because the company is expanding? Was the previous person promoted? Or did he quit or get fired?

The employer's answer will help you determine whether the job has strong room for growth or a high turnover rate.

2. What is a typical day like for this position?

Most job postings list the position's responsibilities without saying how much time is allocated to each responsibility. You want to know this information for two reasons.

First, if your typical workday includes spending hours doing something you dislike, you may want to reconsider whether it's the right job for you.

Second, by discovering which job functions are most important to the employer, you can tailor the remainder of your interview to those areas and include them in your interview follow-up.

3. How would you describe the company culture?

This is one of the single-most important questions to ask. The employer's response will help you understand what it's like working there day-to-day, what the company values, how colleagues interact with one another, and so on.

If you're going to spend the majority of your waking hours on the job, you should make sure the company culture is a good fit.

4. What are the goals of the company over the next five years? How does this position and this department factor into those goals?

This question demonstrates your goal-oriented nature and suggests that you won't job hop right away.

An informed response will give you insight into the organizational structure and how your position fits into it.

An uninformed response suggest the hiring manager is out of touch with the organization, the organization does a poor job communicating its goals to employees, or the organization is not thinking long-term. None of these are a good sign.

5. Do you like working here?

It's unlikely the hiring manager will say "No," but you can still infer a lot from his response.

A moment's hesitation followed only by, "Uh… yeah… I do" might be a red flag. A smile and explanation of why he likes working there, on the other hand, signifies a more genuine response.

If you interview with multiple employees during your job interview, ask them each similar questions. This is particularly helpful when it comes to the subjective questions (e.g. "How would you describe the company culture?" and "Do you like working here?").

Doing so will help you paint a more complete picture of the organization, which will help you make the best decision once you're offered the job.

Your Turn

What are your go-to questions to ask the employer?

Thanks to ZipRecruiter / Careerealism


How To Get Feedback When You're The Boss

The higher up in the organization you get, the less likely you'll receive constructive feedback on your ideas, performance, or strategy. No one wants to offend the boss, right? But without input, your development will suffer, you may become isolated, and you're likely to miss out on hearing some great ideas. So, what can you do to get people to tell you what you may not want to hear?

What the Experts Say
Most people have good reasons for keeping their opinions from higher ups. "People with formal power can affect our fate in many ways — they can withhold critical resources, they can give us negative evaluations and hold us back from promotions, and they can even potentially fire us or have us fired," says James Detert, associate professor at the Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management and author of the Harvard Business Review articles "Debunking Four Myths About Employee Silence" and "Why Employees Are Afraid to Speak". The more senior you become, the more likely you are to trigger this fear. "The major reason people don't give the boss feedback is they're worried that the boss will retaliate because they know that most of us have trouble accepting negative feedback," says Linda Hill, the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and coauthor of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader. While you may be tempted to enjoy this deference, the silence will not help you, your organization or your career.

Acknowledge the fear
As the boss, you have to set the stage so people feel comfortable, says Hill. You need to break through their fear. Detert suggests being explicit. Tell them that you know everyone makes mistakes, including you, and that they should call out those errors without feeling embarrassed or threatened. Explain that you need their feedback to learn.

At the same time, you should recognize how hard it might be to hear this tough feedback. "It's human to feel bad when people criticize and no matter how senior you become, you're still human," Hill says. Still, you can't let that anxiety hold you back.

Ask for it, constantly
Ask for feedback on a regular basis, not just at review time. "You need to be the one who is actively collecting and soliciting information all the time," says Hill. You can say something like, "I know that these are the goals that we set together. What can I do to help you achieve those goals?" You shouldn't assume your team members will be upfront the first time you ask. "You have to do it for awhile and then the information will flow and you can ask more pointed questions," says Hill.

Request examples
In the same way that you want to give concrete examples when giving feedback, you should also request them when you are receiving it. When someone tells you, "You run our team meetings really well," or "You don't delegate enough," follow up by asking for an example. This allows you to better understand the feedback and ensures that what you're hearing is true. "I tend to think the more people can back up their assertions and input with concrete examples or numbers, the more it's probably honest," says Detert.

Read between the lines
Of course, you may not get honest feedback all the time. But it's your job to figure out what problems people are trying to help you identify. You may need to triangulate between several points of feedback. Hill suggests, for example, that you ask five or six people the same question. "You're trying to collect the data so you can you go back and put the story together about the impact you're having," she says. Detert agrees about casting a wide net: "If nothing else, it'll help you figure out whether there are gaps and inconsistencies in what you're hearing, and what you might need to do about it."

Act on it
If someone is brave enough to give you input, recognize it. "People hate feeling that speaking up was a complete waste of time," says Detert. "You have to actually thank people for doing it, and other employees have to see those people get promoted rather than fired or shunned." Show everyone that you receive feedback well and can change your behavior as a result. These examples will turn into "urban legends," encouraging more people to give you constructive feedback.

Find a few trusted people
If you suspect that most people in your organization aren't going to be honest with you, or feedback is just not part of the culture, Detert suggests finding one or two people you trust to tell you the truth. It could be someone on your team, a peer, a mentor, or a coach. Whoever it is, be sure he or she has access to the right data and is able to talk to the people who interact with you on a daily basis. Don't just turn to confidants who will tell you what you want to hear.

Start anonymously
It can be hard to get people to open up. One way to get around this is by doing a 360-degree review or using a coach to gather feedback anonymously. But then you should respond to it. According to Hill, if you talk openly about what you've learned it sends a signal that you're open to hearing criticism. "Once you've done that, people are more comfortable telling you to your face," says Hill. She shares the example of Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies, who posted his own 360-degree feedback on the company intranet and encouraged his senior team to do the same. It was a bold move, says Hill, but the result was that people felt much more comfortable giving Nayar feedback directly when they knew he took it seriously.

Principles to Remember


  • Always say thank you and explain how you'll respond to the feedback you've heard
  • Turn to a few people you trust who can tell you what others really think about your performance and ideas
  • If you think people won't open up, start by gathering feedback anonymously to show them you're receptive


  • Wait for review time to ask for input
  • Assume you are going to get 100% honest feedback, especially at first
  • Rely on one source for feedback — triangulate between several points of data

Case Study #1: Find a champion on your staff
Michael Green, the founder and executive director of the Center for Environmental Health, knows that it's tough for his team — 23 full-time employees and another handful of interns — to give him candid feedback. "When I founded the organization 16 years ago, one of my board members told me that I needed to be aware of my privilege and position of power," he says. Since he knows that people take a risk whenever they do give him input, he is sure to respond appropriately. "Whenever possible, you have to do what they ask to prove that you're listening. You need to develop relationships with people so they know they can tell you the truth without getting anyone in trouble," he says.

He also takes every opportunity he can to tell his staff that he's open to feedback. In meetings, he regularly says, "If there's anyone who wants to talk with me about this offline, please do. You can also talk to Charlie about it." Michael relies on Charlie, the organization's associate director, to be candid with him and to serve as a sounding board for the staff. Michael knows that wouldn't work if employees perceived Charlie as "Michael's guy." Rather, the team sees him as an impartial leader who will give Michael their feedback, without naming names, and keep things to himself when it's appropriate. "They trust his judgment to know what to tell me. And I'm sure he doesn't tell me everything," Michael says.

He also says he encourages feedback by giving it. "There's nobody you can't find praise for, even an underperformer," he says. "When they get regular, positive feedback they feel like they are part of a team and they are willing to tell you more."

Case Study #2: Make feedback fun
Sunita Malhotra, the managing director of People Insights, a coaching and consulting firm based in Belgium, has earned the nickname "feedback monster." Thanks to a formative experience in her teens (a friend told her that her tone of voice was too sharp), she now goes out of her way to solicit opinions from colleagues and subordinates. "If someone doesn't tell you, you don't know," she explains. At first, she thought it would be easy. "I just thought people would walk into my office and tell me what they thought," she says. But she discovered that, as a boss seeking feedback, she needed to be quite deliberate. As head of human resources for the European division of a global company overseeing 7,500 people, she made three promises to anyone who joined her team:

  1. She would always give positive and constructive feedback.
  2. She always wanted feedback.
  3. They would all try to have fun.

Sunita also solicited feedback in all her meetings. Whether they were one-on-ones with her 20 direct reports, larger staff meetings, or sessions with internal customers, there were always five minutes set aside on the agenda to gather input. "My aim was to create a feedback culture," she says. And it worked. Eventually, people stopped waiting for the designated time in the meetings and gave her input in real time. For those who were more hesitant, she used humor. Each person on her team was given a set of green, yellow and red cards — to reward or penalize behavior as a referee would in a soccer match. For example, if someone was listening well in a team meeting, a colleague lays a green card on the table and explains why. Similarly, if someone interrupted a co-worker, a third person would call out the behavior with a red card. Sunita made it clear she expected to get as many yellow and red cards as she deserved.

Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review.

Thanks to Amy Gallo / Blogs HBR / Harvard Business School Publishing


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Childhood Stories Are Clues To Your Next Career

When you were seven years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Believe it or not, taking this nostalgic journey back to a simpler time may be exactly what you need to begin the career defining or career transition process. Why? Because your instincts at that age while play acting, before the "shoulda, woulda, couldas" began to impact your choices (hint – someone else's influence) are the first clues to our natural career interests and skills we must use to be happy.

When I was seven, like many of us, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to force my four year old brother to sit down at a "desk" while I doled out the assignments and used my precious blackboard to "teach" him the lesson for the day. My desire to become a teacher stuck with me through college. After I got my Bachelor's Degree I took another year to become a certified secondary education teacher (required in California). I was 25 at the time and once I completed my course began to look for teaching jobs. Like today, jobs were not plentiful, but I also learned, while I enjoyed teaching, I did not enjoy teaching high school students. They were too close to being my peers at the time. So I gave up on teaching until I entered the Vocational/Career Counseling field at 29.

My desire for teaching never left me, however. What I realized is teaching takes many forms and does not always take place in front of a classroom. I love to lead workshops, to give talks, to lead groups, and to teach through my counseling. From age seven, the teaching is a recurring theme in everything I do.

I challenge you to really examine what you enjoyed play acting as a child and see if there is a connection today to your work-related interests. It may seem like a stretch, but if you really examine it, there is a very good chance you will see a correlation. If you do not have Career Happiness, you may want to see how far you've strayed from your seven year old career dreams.

In the work I do, I ask my clients to write stories about a time at any point in their lives when they accomplished something they felt good about. It could be something as simple as learning to swim to researching and executing a project that impacted thousands of people. This is one of the exercises that Richard Bolles uses in What Color Is Your Parachute. It is a timeless exercise because it provides an organic way for clients to identify skills that they enjoy using in a work or career setting. One such story a client recently wrote was from age three. She and her family were vacationing in Greece. She was in the ocean in an inner tube. Her parents were close by, but her father was a little farther out in the water. She did not know how to swim, but she saw her father and knew that she had to find a way to get to him. She had a problem to solve. If she kicked her feet it would propel her to move forward toward her father. When she got in the water, she didn't have a clue how to make herself move.  But by solving the problem and seeing the end result of how to get to Dad, she accomplished her goal and was rewarded with a proud smile. Her next story was age four and the prominent skill was again problem-solving. In deciding what skills she MUST use in her next career, her choice of stories is clear – she must use problem-solving skills to love what she does in her work. Although she had always understood this to be a skill she enjoyed, writing the stories offered additional clarification, which increased her confidence in the process.

These examples illustrate small pieces of the career design puzzle. They emphasize the need to do the inner work necessary to ultimately find a niche that will take you down the Career Happiness path.

Shell Mendelson, founder of NB Careers, specializes in guiding individuals with Career ADD and Career Paralysis to define an authentic career direction.

Thanks to Shell Mendelson / Careerealism


Where Did Performance Appraisals Come From?

With all the fuss these days about how our performance appraisal system is broken I started wondering --- where did it all start?  Who started us on the path to what we have today?

Not really important because, after all, it's history.  So who really cares?  We need to concentrate on "fixing" it, not on history.  But those questions stayed in my mind.  So I started researching it.

What I came up with was surprising.

The practice of appraisal is a very ancient "art".  In historical terms, it's been around since before 220AD, and I guess it could claim being the world's second oldest profession!

There is, says Dulewicz,  "... a basic human tendency to make judgments about those one is working with, as well as about oneself."  He taught that appraisal was both inevitable and universal.    People have tended to judge the work performance of others since the beginning of time.

Some might say that the use of performance appraisals began in the early 20th century.  They say it can be traced to Taylor's pioneering Time and Motion studies.  But this is not very helpful, because it can also be argued that almost everything in the field of human resources management started with him.   So we will start a little farther back in time.

Here is the history.   I haven't included all of it, but you can follow the link if you want to see everything.   Although it's a mess today, see if you think we have progressed any over time.


The practice of performance appraisal dates back to the third century when the emperors of the Wei Dynasty (221-265AD) rated the performance of the official family members.

Fairness of raters was questioned.   A rater employed by the Wei Dynasty said: "The Imperial Rater seldom rates men according to their merits, but always according to his likes and dislikes"


A procedure to formally rate members of the Jesuit Society was established by Ignatius Loyola.

Late 18th century:             

Performance management theory and practice in the United States started with the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. Workers were evaluated and paid primarily on the basis of quantity output -- the number of "pieces" they satisfactorily turned out


Performance appraisals were initiated by Robert Owen in the early 1800s. Owen monitored performance at his cotton mills in Scotland through the use of monitors. The monitors were cubes of wood with different colors painted on each side and displayed above the workstation of each employee.  The color of the visible side of the cube was associated with a rating to indicate performance. At the end of the day, the block was turned so that a particular color, representing a rating of the employee's performance, was facing the aisle for everyone to see.


Frederick Taylor stressed the importance of the individual worker by advocating the payment of individually based financial incentives to those workers who could increase their output as a result of the application of scientific management.


The widespread use of performance appraisal techniques with blue-collar employees didn't start until after World War I. Appraisal systems for measuring managerial and professional employee performance weren't used extensively until about 1955.


Emergence of performance appraisals based on Management by Objectives. Employees were appraised on the basis of achieving short-term goals, jointly set by the employee and the manager, rather than personality traits.  There was also a shift in the purpose of performance appraisal system towards employee development and feedback.


In the US, passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1966 and 1970 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines for Regulation of Selection procedures created a need for improvement in company appraisal practices. These legal considerations exerted strong pressure on companies to formalize, validate, and organize appraisal systems.


Strategic performance management systems cut across company levels, linking strategic, operational and individual performance management. Individual performance management starts to be aligned to corporate strategies, to create a clear line of sight.

So, what's the trend for the future?    Well Bersin says that an old trend, the coaching and development model of performance management, is becoming increasingly popular.   They predict that in the future, appraisals will be less focused on past performance and more focused on career development and developing skills for the future.

If this is true, as talent becomes increasingly scarce, companies will have to go the extra mile to retain critical employees.  This will involve the need for training management on effective coaching and developing techniques as well as training on providing performance feedback.

What do you think the future holds?

Jacque Vilet, President of Vilet International, has over 20 years' experience in International Human Resources with major multinationals such as Intel, National Semiconductor and Seagate Technology. She has managed both local/ in-country national and expatriate programs and has been an expat twice during her career.    Her true love is working with local national issues.  Jacque has the following certifications:  CCP, GPHR, HCS and SWP as well as a B.S. and M.S in Psychology and an MBA.    She belongs to SHRM, Human Capital Institute and World at Work.   Jacque has also been a speaker in the U.S., Asia and Europe, and is a regular contributor to various HR and talent management publications.  She lives in Dallas and has 3 four-legged children and one Chinese daughter (it's a long story).

Thanks to Jacque Vilet / Comensation Café


The Six Enemies Of Greatness (And Happiness)

These six factors can erode the grandest of plans and the noblest of intentions. They can turn visionaries into paper-pushers and wide-eyed dreamers into shivering, weeping balls of regret. Beware!

 1) Availability

We often settle for what's available, and what's available isn't always great. "Because it was there," is an okay reason to climb a mountain, but not a very good reason to take a job or a free sample at the supermarket.

And sadly, we'll never know everything.

 2) Ignorance

If we don't know how to make something great, we simply won't. If we don't know that greatness is possible, we won't bother attempting it. All too often, we literally do not know any better than good enough.

 3) Committees

Nothing destroys a good idea faster than a mandatory consensus. The lowest common denominator is never a high standard.

 4) Comfort

Why pursue greatness when you've already got 324 channels and a recliner? Pass the dip and forget about your grand designs.

5) Momentum

If you've been doing what you're doing for years and it's not-so-great, you are in a rut. Many people refer to these ruts as careers.

6) Passivity

There's a difference between being agreeable and agreeing to everything. Trust the little internal voice that tells you, "this is a bad idea."

Thanks to Jessica Hagy / Forbes / LLC™

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Product Description

Written by two top business trainers, this guide reveals the strategies and language skills needed to make the most of performance appraisals - for both the reviewers and the reviewed. It breaks the process into five simple steps and explains what to say with hundreds of winning phrases organized by topic (and hundreds of counterproductive phrases too). Also included is advice on preparing an agenda, body language, and tone of voice - plus true success and horror stories.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #53413 in Books
  • Published on: 2006-12-05
  • Released on: 2006-12-05
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .60" h x 4.52" w x 7.50" l, .32 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 224 pages
Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Meryl Runion is a communications consultant to corporations and organizations around the country.

Janelle Brittain is a consultant who coaches businesses on performance management and has been featured in numerous newspaper, radio and television interviews.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
5A must for all managers!
By Laura Giacomino
This book could not have come at a better time. I was dreading the thought of writing my performance reviews until I read this book. It gave me insight into the importance of the process as well as some key phrases to use to make the writing of the review simple. I could not believe how smooth the review process was this year as a result. I wrote my reviews with confidence and it took me half the time it normally takes! I passed it along to my managers and colleagues I was so impressed. Great job ladies on making a potentially tired subject alive and refreshing again!

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful.
5Great performance review tool!!!
By K. Porotsky
Need to write an employee review? Then this is the book for you! >From the template employee performance reviews to the ready to use phrases for employee performance reviews, this book will show you how to compile a review that is both constructive and likely to fall on receptive ears.

I enjoyed the examples of employee reviews from the chapter "Performance Review Tales of Triumph and Terror." I also enjoyed the "Bonus Superlative Phrases" at the end of each phrase category. These are amusing phrases for the employee whose performance is fabulous.

I recommend the first half of this book for anyone who needs to learn how to give a performance review of an employee (it's full of how-to's) and I recommend the second half of this book for anyone who is looking for sample phrases for performance feedback. And if you're looking for additional inspiration/guidance, the author has a free list of employee review phrases on her website at [...]

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful.
5Required Reading for Every Supervisor!
By Larry Oliver Palmer
Having recently redeveloped and launched our Performance Management Program, the title of this book really caught my interest. It has been my experience that the best designed Perforance Management Program falls short of its intended goal unless it is well communicated to the recipients. Meryl's book offers an extensive selection of phrases and terms for every level of interaction. This book is be a MUST READ for every new supervisor and an excellent CONVERSATION ENHANCER for the seasoned ones. I would highly recommend this be kept in the top drawer of anyone who has the occassion to discuss performance with an employee!