Posted by: Steph | March 4, 2006

5150 – Now The O.C.

K, my 5150 group is beginning to feel like an episode of the O.C. Except without all of the kissing. And we are not quite that cute. But the drama and the bad scripts… we have it all.

When we last left off I was trying the “being mean” technique with our 85% (For anyone who wasn’t paying attention, the 85% refers to team members you cannot leverage who have no impact). By “being mean” I am referring to being demanding, trying to not let one team member get away with doing nothing at all. Again.

It didn’t work out too well. Mission not accomplished. And then came the peer evaluations… He/she got very, very low scores. I immediately felt horrible – that visceral feeling in your stomach when you feel responsible for someone else’s misery. Now was that fair? After all of the late nights I spent doing extra work to cover for him/her, after fighting to keep morale high in the group even with one member slacking off, why was I the one feeling guilty because we gave her/him a low evaluation score?

As a team we did fail in one regard. No one directly told this person that he/she was not performing as well as we expected. We hinted, we were very clear about expectations, we discussed performance issues as though speaking to the entire group, and we broadly hinted some more, but he/she was never singled out and spoken to. I will take responsibility for this, and in the future I will act differently. I will get past the fear of risking “hurting someone’s feelings”. Had I taken this person aside a month or two ago and been very direct, one of two things would have happened. Either his/her behaviour would have changed dramatically, or at the very least, I would be able to sit here and say that I did everything within my power.

Now I am the current leader in my 5150 team and I let go of the frustration and all of the guilt and thought to myself, how would the leader that I aspire to be act in this situation? Yeah, I know, I’m sounding a little hallmark card, but bear with me here… I sent 85% an email a) taking responsibility as a team that we may not have been clear bout our standards/expectations and b) offering to meet him/her to discuss this in depth.

The response from 85%? – An O.C. script worthy email to the entire group. 85% was apparently blown away and devastated by his/her low evaluation scores. At first the guilt came back, but then I reread the email a few times and thought about it… and found something interesting.

a) 85% did not reply to my pro-active email offering to discuss it.

b) 85%’s email was slightly passive aggressive and targeted me with a mis-quote

c) 85% blamed the group and never even once considered that there was even the slightest possibility that he/she should take some responsibility.

I think that c) is the important one.

So maybe on Monday we can have a brawl or something to keep the drama quotient there.



  1. Ah. Sounds like what happened in my group, except I had sent the email about halfway through. The under-achiever was very suprised at hearing how we felt about their performance. Things did somewhat improve after that and I could at least know that we gave that person an opportunity to improve.

    We don’t have the ability in our groups to actually force any of our team members to do anything. The only thing we can do is reflect our opinion of their performance in the evaluations. Of course if you’re rated low, you will think this isn’t fair. But it should be your responsibility to ensure that you are doing your share in the eyes of your team-mates.

  2. Ah, maybe you should all wear wife beaters and/or skanky OC-esque california mall rat clothes to keep with the mood? Maybe knock down a bottle of vodka or two?

    Steph, maybe you can throw down some Sufjan Stevens too.

  3. What is “Sufjan Stevens”?


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