I am looking for a template that my team and I can use to rank our DR's. I'm trying to find a comprehensive yet simple system to use to capture their current state, ability to advance / long term potential, etc. We have about 50 employees to review, so I am looking for something good but simple. I have seen at least one example that is very cumbersome. I was hoping someone might have something they have used successfully in the past that they could share with me.

Thanks, Tim.

fchalif's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge


Can you elaborate on the work context and objectives of using such a template.

Ranking DRs is not necessarily desirable if the objectives of the 50 DRs are very varied.

It may (and I say "may" with difficulty) be appropriate in a context where all DRs are performing the same duties and a cut back activity is required.
In a my first role coming out of university, I was a trainee in an audit firm as part of my requirement for the professional designation (CPA). I was laid off along with a few others in what was an annual exercise at the firm. This was about 16 years ago, so I am well over it and actually glad it occurred, however we believed at the time that some sort of ranking occurred since all the audit supervisors would get together and compare notes.
It just did not feel good, I guess because I never got feedback while I was with the firm to allow me to adjust. Oh well their loss......

Sorry if I digressed a little, and please let us know your context. No two situations are alike and we love to hear what you are going though and are working on.

TomW's picture
Training Badge

I was thinking the same thing as Frankie: Are you actually trying to rank-order all 50 people from best to worst? I cannot imagine that as a good thing. (not to mention, there is no way you know the strengths and weaknesses of 50 people well enough to rank them)

Even just the three subjects you list are [i]highly[/i] subjective and not of much use in the long term.

The ability to advance is not even always relevant. Sometimes you really need an awesome career-long data entry clerk, not a new CFO. Some people can be invaluable assets even though they sit low in the organization.

What is it you are trying to accomplish?

bflynn's picture

My advice is not to get fancy. Just rank them. To avoid getting hung up if X is better than Y, I suggest the following method:

1) The individual's managers score their people. It shouldn't take a manager long to do this.
2) You review the numbers and decide which manager's people really are the best and fudge them up or down depending on their results. The end result must be normally distributed.
3) Now rank order everyone and give them a score from 1-10. There should be few 10s and 1s and many 5s.

Yes, it is subjective. Any judgement is. Trying to have a spreadsheet that scores x vs y...doesn't work.

You're done. Your 8-10s are your best people. Lavish praise and rewards on them. Your 1s and 2s are dead wood. Cut them and replace them. Ditto for the managers, only promote someone to the new management position.

I claim this method is highly effective. I also hate it because it feels brutal to me.


ajrumpel's picture

Hi Tom,

I just finished reading [i]Leadership Pipeline[/i]... They have a very good matrix to describe how a person is performing and their potential for progression. It is covered at the end of the book if you want to skim to that section.

The concept (off the top of my head) was that the top of the matrix covered Exceptional performance, Full Performance, and Not Yet Full Performance. The side covered Turn (ready to promote), *forgot term* (progressing in current position), and Mastery (excelling in position but not promotable).

The concept is geared around progression from one leadership level to another so depending on your directs or your desires for ranking may not be 100% suitable, but should get you headed in a good direction.


The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company (Hardcover)
by Ram Charan (Author), Stephen Drotter (Author), James Noel (Author)

AManagerTool's picture

What's funny is that usually these requests come from above you. Your boss marches into your office and says, "M, Yeah, I'm gonna need you to rank your staff from best to worst. Can you do that for me, M'Kay?....Right" and then he walks away. Tim probably had that happen to him. It's pretty rare for a line manager to do this sort of thing unprompted. It's also pretty rare that these things happen for no reason at all. Are there two guys named Bob form Accenture or McKinsey walking around interviewing everyone?

ajkearton34's picture


jhack's picture

They might. I don't. Those who do may have delivered via private message.

They tend to vary by company. If you need one, it'll likely be given to you.

Have you listened to the podcast on Retention from April 24, 2006? There is a nifty template described there (but the template itself is copyrighted by MT and not mine to distribute).

BTW, Mark and Mike don't recommend ranking.

John Hack

US41's picture

I see what you are looking for. I have a template like that laying around from the bad old days. On behalf of your people who cannot tell you this to your face, please abandon the course you are on and ask your people to provide you with at least a list of their top ten accomplishments this year. You can at least sift through *their* ideas instead of your imaginary impressions you mark on a grid while remembering only the last sin or the last success.

For the future...

I recommend that you listen to the podcasts on annual reviews and setting MT goals. Also listen to the podcasts on O3's. It will take several hours, which you probably don't have if you are posting in all caps looking for a template today. If that is the case, this year's review is a wash, and no matter the template you use, expect your directs to respond negatively to what you are about to do.

It has been done to me, and I certainly did not think highly of the perpetrator. I am now paygrades higher than that person, and I put their resume into my recycle bin about six months ago.

Invest some quality time this weekend listening to the podcasts and invest your time in becoming a better manager - the dividends you receive will ultimately be not only spiritual fulfillment, but also job security and money. The cool thing about good management is that by pursuing your own enlightened self-interest, you end up being the best boss some people ever had.


RobRedmond's picture

Try this:

It's a way to perform reviews that uses the Hot Wash and some of the most basic principles from the Manager Tools' Annual Review system.

* It gets input from the employee
* It uses a hot wash to frame the discussion
* It gives you something to work from

It's going to be a real pain in the fanny for you if you don't have O3 notes and don't store email. And doing 50 people? Dude, no way. If you have 50 directs, get teams set up under you. You can't do annual reviews on 50 people with any attention to individuality.


hyubdoo23's picture


The phrase "a real pain in the fanny" is unintentionally very amusing to our British brethren, though anatomically very improbable for poor old Tim.

Thanks for brightening my Friday morning.