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Let Me Fit You Into Our Grid (Dumb-Ass Stupid Management)

Let Me Fit You Into Our Grid (Dumb-Ass Stupid Management)

Here’s a request from a reporter that appeared today in my inbox:

“I am seeking HR professionals at organizations who are using the ‘9-box grid’ method to assess employee potential and manage their development. The article will cover what the tool is, how it is used, advantages/disadvantages, and anecdotes from organizations using the tool. I am interested in arranging an interview in the next two weeks.

How would you like your performance to be reduced to a “nine box grid,” to make it easier to label you and categorize you? Wouldn’t it be helpful to know those folks behind the green curtain are passing judgment and assessing development need by stowing you as a person in the equivalent of a sock drawer?

But, don’t listen to me. I’m an INTJ, semi-mature, LOW K, expressive-reductive, upper left brain, quasi-romantic, GREEN. What can you expect from me? I’m probably in Grid 10.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 13

  • Phil Parlock

    May 11, 2011

    Compounding the stupidity, the results will likely be plotted against an expected curve, with people being shifted from box to box to provide a “cleaner,” more even distribution.

  • Cheryl McLaughlin

    May 11, 2011

    Alan, that’s oh, so good!

  • Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg

    May 11, 2011

    Alan’s off the grid…

    Alan creates the grid!

  • Ron Ratliff

    May 11, 2011


    But it is BECAUSE you’re “in Grid 10” that makes your posts so relevant!

    I never can remember where I end up on those personality assessments anyway…I think it means that I’m just stubborn.

    All the best,


  • Pat O'Mallon

    May 12, 2011

    … and at the end of the day nothing about me changes even though I now know that I am an R2 D2 EIEIO ….

  • Mark Cioni

    May 12, 2011

    So, let’s see…leveraging the 9-box method…hmmm…

    Wait! I know! Put an “X” in the center square!

  • Gaby

    May 12, 2011

    And let’s not forget you are a Pisces, Alan, that’s very important too…

  • Peter McLean

    May 12, 2011

    The first to get three employees in a straight line wins!

  • Ilya Bogorad

    May 12, 2011

    I was visiting a government agency yesterday and noticed that each office and cubicle has the inhabitant’s Kolbe index prominently displayed on the outside, at the eye level of the visitor.

    I asked what they did with it, if anything, and the most I got was “well, we think we can create better teams” ….

  • Peter McLean

    May 16, 2011

    Or you could put stickers with behavioural competencies on a Rubik’s Cube. Twist and turn to see which ones are important this month! (I have an example of this kind of “twisted genius”, applied to marketing, sitting on my desk.)

    Seriously, there is at least one mega multinational (world-renowned) in my home town that has based its entire employee development/OD around becoming a “Blue” culture, because a certain OD tool says it’s bad to be “Red”. (Surprise! Surprise! They are Australian and miners, so 90% of them are “Red”.) A good friend of mine was grateful to be released from an annual 7 figure consulting contract with them (with loads of discretionary time), after years of fighting this kind of simplistic thinking from their HR and Senior Exec.

    (I do know a number of HR people who are smarter than that lot, though.)

  • Alan Weiss

    May 16, 2011

    There was a gas company here that put everyone’s behavioral “profile” on their coffee cups, so you could tell what they were like!

    And a pharma company in California demanded that everyone work on their leadership score according to survey instruments. If you were, say, a 6.7 our of 7, you had to work toward a 6.9.

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