When it comes to assessing the performance of individuals in organizations, it seems incredible that there are still a few HR professionals who believe that requiring managers to force-fit their people into a normal distribution (bell curve) represents high quality people management. And, to compound the offence, some still appear to view Jack Welch’s forced ranking approach (sometimes called "rank and yank") as the height of performance management practice.
With this in mind, a client manager once speculated on what might happen if he were to go into the local town and randomly select 100 people to work in the company. In such circumstances, he conceded that their comparative performance one year on might well be normally distributed. But that is not what he – or anyone else – actually does in practice!