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Where Was My 360° Appraisal?

We now live in a business world of appraisals and 360° ones at that!

One could argue this is genuine progress, where we talk to our people and listen to their needs and inspire them to greater success.

How could this not be progress? But it hasn’t always been this way in the profession.

When I started my training contract in the 1970s, I worked in a small rural three partner regional firm that had been in operation since just before the Second World War.

In those days, we trainees cost little or nothing to employ; my first gross monthly wage packet was £24 ($27)!

Therefore, we were slightly ancillary to the firm’s main activities and a bit of a luxury, but no-one worried too much about what we did, as we cost next to nothing to employ.

As a result, we were given menial tasks to keep us occupied and the first three months of my training contract in this great studious profession of ours was spent clearing-out the office cellar.

Although this reference to a cellar does sound grand, with visions of rows of vintage port stacked and racked to entertain our wealthy clients, the reality was a cellar that was dark, dank, smelly and home to mice and huge black spiders.

I found many old nominal ledgers whilst clearing out the cellar and testament to how long it had been since a clear out was done, was when I found a Haulage Contractor’s old nominal ledger with the ledger account entitled, “Damage to Trucks Due to Enemy Action!”

It was a horrible job and unlike now, it did not start with a risk assessment, agreed goals and outcomes, or a 360° appraisal of my fear of spiders, but I did get a pair of overalls!

Much has changed since the 1970s and least we forget – most for the better.

Quote of the Week

“Charlie and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we have learned is to avoid them.”

– Warren Buffet

Book of the Week

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

– Alice Schroeder

The Snowball is the most fascinating financial success story of our time. Warren Buffett, the legendary investor, has never written a memoir, but finally has given unprecedented access to him and all those closest to his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies and wisdom.