If You Sort, There Will Always Be A Bottom

[pullquote align=”normal”]If you sort them, there will always be a bottom. What good does that serve? [/pullquote]

“Those students are in the 50th percentile. What real school will accept them? They can go to local community college.”

I’ll confess. I overheard this statement while sipping coffee today at Starbucks.

Jack Welch made a specific type of management formula famous where he consistently cut the bottom 10%. He sorted the performance of staff and laid off the bottom 10%, over and over.

What was missing from his formula? It raised stock prices of GM, right?

Humans were missing.

No matter how good the staff is, there will always be a bottom 10%. You can have the highest performing group out of all the competition, but within your group, there will always be a bottom 10%.

Same with students. If you sort them, you’ll always have a bottom 10% or a 90th percentile, but it doesn’t value the human. And it only values the metric by which you’re sorting them.

Same with schools. If you sort them, there will always be a bottom, no matter how awesome the entire group is.

What good does it serve? What value does it add? What are other ways to understand students, staff, and schools? Plenty.