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Walt Reyes - WALT REYES Walt Reyes sat in his cubicle...

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WALT REYES Walt Reyes sat in his cubicle contemplating his upcoming appointment later that morning with Ed Yee, Director of Accounting Products for Southlake Software. Yesterday, Walt received his annual performance review from Ed and had been surprised and disappointed in the results. Walt had expected to receive a very positive review. Instead, what he got was something “right down the middle.” The most disturbing piece of information came for the department stacking review. Ed told Walt that he had placed him in the third quartile of the distribution. Walt knew that what that meant was that Ed evaluated Walt’s overall contribution in the lower half of the entire group. After a short discussion, Walt asked if the evaluation was final. Ed told him that it was not--but that it would be within a few days. Walt responded, “In that case, I’d like to have some time to go over my record and get back to you with my own thoughts before the evaluation is finalized.” Ed agreed that this was a good idea and suggested that the two meet the next morning. Thus, Walt finds himself preparing for that meeting. Background Southlake Software is a relatively small company in the business of providing applications software to low volume, specialized manufacturing companies. Southlake is the premier supplier in its niche and has earned the reputation of supplying the best and most innovative products available at a reasonable price. Much of Southlake’s success has come from its ability to recruit and retain top-notch technical talent. The company makes it very clear that its goal is to hire only “the best and the brightest.” Southlake has done very well in meeting this goal. The few engineers hired straight out of school came out of the top programs in the country. Most of its engineers were recruited from other companies after they had developed strong records of accomplishment. When Walt was recruited to Southlake 18 months ago, he certainly seemed to fit the profile of the “best and brightest.” After graduating with honors from one of the top engineering programs in the country, Walt took a job with one of the leading companies in the applications software industry. During his four years with that company, Walt felt he had developed his skills tremendously. He achieved a reputation within the company of being one of the fastest programmers in the entire division. He also developed something of an expertise in using specialized communications programs.
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