Come on down! Let’s estimate the retail price of annual performance reviews. Whoever is the closest to the actual retail price, without going over, wins the Spice is Right cake.

Spice Cake

Innovative companies such as McKinsey replaced annual evaluations with quarterly coaching assessments to better serve beginner and intermediate level associates as well as alleviate time-consuming and therefore expensive practices. In my experience, annual assessments are dreaded routine for management with outdated methods robbing employees of authentic feedback and organizations of improvements. While a harsh critique, an overhaul of traditional performance reviews is long overdue as well as an honest look the silent intimidation keeping an ineffectual tradition in place.

What is more comforting than chocolate cake? Three different types of chocolate cake from Cake Monkey Bakery. Mini malted chocolate, salted caramel and raspberry red velvet cake accompany a cautionary tale about too much of a good thing.

Chocolate Cakes

A True-ish Story

Once upon a time, a young bird called Russell, The Crow, would not fly. Russell, The Crow annoyed everyone. He squawked incessantly creating a terrible ruckus refusing to fly, get his own food or listen to advice. The other crows in the neighborhood shouted and pleaded for Russell, The Crow to fly. They flapped their wings demonstrating lift-off technique, but he said, “No, thanks. I’ll stay here.” And Russell, The Crow stayed on the ground for a few days until the neighbor’s cat ate him for lunch.

The End.

Our professional comfort zone is a misnomer in my experience. This phase symbolizes the antithesis of ease and moreover, a concealed impediment to progress and possible danger to our professional reputations. Refusal to leave the familiar territory of an outgrown position summons multitudes of unexpected challenges to our attitude impeding progress and promotion. Ultimately, we end up simmering in discontent, toying with concocted drama, a real threat to our respectability instead of forging ahead to the unknown.

Dark chocolate caramels are delicious confection satisfying youthful taste buds while fleur de sel sprinkles offer old salty dogs something to savor, a perfect candy to bridge the generations. This story may not be easy to digest but I’m sharing as preemptive strike against hoopla for Gen Z as we have suffered enough with Millennial myths.

Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel

Dear Senior Team Members and Industry Veterans:

Many moons ago during our freshman professional chapters, we were royal pains in the rear end but were delightfully unaware because ignorance is bliss. Without question, we vexed supervisors with no perception of how blindingly irritating our actions, the Millennial group in your organization comparably oblivious. In my experience, current rookies differ from earlier generations only by social media prowess, but Boomers are hijacking social channels with alarming proficiency, our youth have nothing to call their own. While the struggle to manage amateurs is real, our present novices are no more or less inept than previous generations furthermore it’s a waste of time to fuss over imaginary differences. The jig is up; Millennials are just like everyone else.

Tart

Consider influencers in your professional circle, formal and informal, providing lessons on topics from technical know-how to discernment required for finessing sensitive conversation. Whether consciously recognized or not, teachers are everywhere, some hidden in agonizing lessons ultimately growing into deep-rooted wisdom while others super bosses, furthering expert insight, facilitating our promotion and recognition. Although no journey resistance free, time spent in discomfort is partially within our control based upon how promptly one asks for help when faced with dilemma.

Your buttercream is currently under surveillance. The competition just ate your lunch and has come back for dessert. The question is are you going to let them have your chocolate cake and eat it too? Let’s talk tough about keeping your adversaries at bay.

Competition, what competition? Banish this phrase from your professional lexicon evermore and assume that rivals are lurking everywhere. We are probably all guilty of letting our guard down due to being either disinterested or completely naive about the strength of a competitor thereby giving up market share for easy grabs. In short, we were temporarily oblivious allowing the opposition to get the better of us.

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Pink Panther Cake

Fried dough, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Leave a position open too long and you’ll end up fried yourself, but not in a happy donut with sprinkles kind of way. This is a cautionary tale regarding the crucial internal communication that is often overlooked during the recruiting process.

Open positions will put you in the proverbial hot seat with just about everyone but particularly the powers that be. Turnover is part of business life so a well-thought out system to manage the recruiting period is invaluable and will be an excellent test of your managing up skills. Managing up? Yes, while running the office short-handed, recruiting, providing extra support to your now over-worked and cranky team, you must also demonstrate the capacity to make everyone feel comfortable and confident that everything is fine, just fine. Nothing to see here…

You have worked hard to earn your current position, having scratched and clawed your way up to the bottom of the middle. You are important-ish. Just look at your inbox overflowing with…well, unorganized stuff. Today we are exploring our email communication style while we enjoy a chocolate treat that has been aptly named an InBox Cake in honor of the nostalgic box cake with pudding in the mix, of course.

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Your email inbox is out of control. It seems that everyone, regardless of position, is receiving hundreds of emails a day. What is all the excessive communication really about? You are likely being cc’d to oblivion, drowning in mind-numbing minutiae and perhaps participating in a few inefficient habits yourself. This is an exit strategy to escape the dark abyss that is currently your inbox.

Tequila probably won’t fix your training issues, but it’s worth a shot. An extra heavy pour of Patron, in the glaze of our cake, will make reviewing your team’s last shop call scores a bit easier. The orange and chocolate are excellent carriers for the 80-proof alcohol in cake form and the ganache filling has been whipped into shape, which is more than we can say for your team.

Your training isn’t working. You are officially up you-know-what’s creek because your team’s closing ratios show decline. A decline? How can they go to training and come back less capable you ponder to yourself on the verge of meltdown. Your grandiose dreams of total market domination have been crushed under the heavy weight of nightmarish mediocrity.

The Gods have obviously turned against you and not even the sacrifice of your self-esteem will appease their wrath.