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Friday, July 27, 2012 - 3:30am

WORKING: Stack Rankings

Updated: 4 years ago.
Brandon Smith says stack ranking leads to a focus on individual performance and individual achievements, not teamwork and innovation. Stack ranking forces managers to pick a few high achievers, a bunch of average workers, and a few shape-up-or-ship-out employees every year. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Patterson via Flickr.)

Tech giant Microsoft has been taking some flak in recent weeks for losing its innovative edge.

A piece in Vanity Fair’s August issue (out earlier this month) blames Microsoft’s downfall on a corporate culture that stymied creativity and innovation, especially a system of employee evaluation called “stack ranking.”

Brandon Smith tells us more about this system and why companies use it.

Brandon Smith teaches about leadership, communication, and workplace culture at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. More of his advice is on his blog and at While you’re there, ask him your workplace or career question. We might use your question on a future radio segment.