Performance Appraisal: Reducing Your Legal Liability Exposure

I've been writing a lot about performance appraisal lately - and that got me thinking.

There's one performance appraisal related resource that everyone needs to know about:

Alan Sklover is a New York-based attorney who has been writing and developing, by far, the best online resources for employees available. His blog is invaluable and it often addresses performance appraisal and the Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) that so often follow.

If you're an employee, you'll learn what to do. If you're in management, you'll learn how to avoid the legal, financial, cultural and operational problems that so often occur.

Frankly, there's no reason that organizations should mishandle the performance appraisal process to the extent that they do...which leads to employees feeling perfectly justified in taking action against them. And that leads to litigation.

If you read what Al has to say, you'll discover that there are ways to protect yourself if you're on the mishandled side and the organization if you're on the mishandling side.

Take a look. You'll be very glad you did.
Al Sklover and I are colleagues and friends. This is not a paid endorsement.
Please note that nothing expressed above constitutes legal advice.

Why you really should be reading John Paczkowski

Ebay has announced that it's splitting the company in two. PayPal will soon be a completely separate entity.

Okay, that's the news part of this post. The really interesting part, though, is why you really need to be reading John Paczkowski's "Code/Red" column each weekday.

In an article entitled, "eBay to Spin Off PayPal With New CEOs for Two Publicly Traded Companies," parent publication Re/Code presented the news this way:
"After resisting activist shareholder pressure to do so earlier this year, online commerce giant eBay said today that it plans to separate its eBay e-commerce business from its PayPal payments unit, creating two independent publicly traded companies."
That was written by Kara Swisher, Co-Executive Editor of Re/Code. She is - rightfully and often - cited as the scariest woman in the Silicon Valley. She's honest and forthright and has been telling the truth about what's going on...and by the Valley and tech sector since the 1990s.

The article does what it should do. It informs. It engages. It's slightly snarky. It makes you want to read more on Re/Code by Swisher and their other writers.

But when she and her Co-Executive Editor, Walt Mossberg, wanted a very specific voice and take on the Valley and sector, the person they both wanted was John Paczkowski. Here's why.

In his Code/Red post on the same topic, he wrote:
"Carl Icahn is even more insufferably smug than usual today. After months of rebuffing Icahn's calls to spin off PayPal, eBay said this morning that it would do just that, creating two independent publicly traded companies next year. EBay's shares are soaring on the announcement, and Icahn's stake in the company along with them. The cantankerous billionaire is eBay's sixth-biggest shareholder, with nearly 31 million shares, about a 2.5 percent stake in the company. EBay shares are up about eight percent as I write this, which means Icahn's stake is worth about $140 million more now than it was yesterday at market close."
The title of the post is "Carl Icahn to eBay: Great Transaction! Highly Recommended! A+++ Fast Payment!!!!"

You gotta love it.

I always recommend reading. When it comes to business, I also always recommend reading about industries that aren't yours so that you know what the rest of the business world is doing and thinking about.

Add Paczkowski to your reading list...Re/Code, too. You'll learns a lot - and have lots of laughs in the process.

Ben Horowitz has written the best business book. Ever.

Thrills! Chills! Romance! Adventure!

I don't know about you, but when I think about business books, not one of those words is the first to come to mind.

That all changed with the absolutely wonderful, beyond brilliant book that Ben Horowitz has written. The book is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
and it is, by far, the best business book. Ever.

I don't say this lightly - especially given that I've written business books myself. Not only that, I've read too many of them over the years to count...whether for myself or because my clients were reading or thinking about reading them.

Horowitz broke the mold with this one. He took his blog (which you should also be reading), gave it context and took us along on the ride he has taken over the past years from entrepreneur to partner in the venture capital firm that's now breaking the mold in that industry.

But it's not who he is or what his venture firm is doing that makes this worth reading. (That's a bit too much like reading celebrity biographies. Possibly interesting, but...really?)

What makes Horowitz' book the best business book ever is that he tells the truth about what it is not just to build a business, but to lead a business - no matter at what level you might be on the organizational chart.

In fact, there are only two things that Horowitz got wrong in the book:
  • First, he thinks it's specific to the technology industry. It's not. It applies to every industry across size, sectors and geographical lines.
  • Second, he thinks it's for entrepreneurs and start-up CEOs. It's not. It's for every person who now holds or aspires to hold any level of management position - from first line supervisor to business owner - who is willing to do the hard work to guide their organization to success.
(BTW, if you were avoiding reading this baby because of either of those reasons, too bad. Start reading.)

The Hard Thing About Hard Thingsdoes more to explain and humanize the impact of management and executive decision making than any book I've ever read. From hiring policies to when it's time to fire people (much sooner than you think or do)...from handling lay-offs in ways that go beyond the fear and build employee motivation to dealing with your Board, shareholders and the analysts...Horowitz uses his experience to guide anyone who says they want to "lead" their organization beyond the right words and into the right actions.

Read this book. Whether you're already in the management, executive or owner/entrepreneurial ranks or not. It's a good read (remember those thrills, chills, romance and adventure!) but, more than that, it's an important read if you're going to create the success you want.