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World’s largest airline; $23.7 billion sales; 95,000 employees
After a series of layoffs caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, American Airlines’ managers resisted following the company’s new distribution guidelines for performance appraisal ratings, thus compromising the results-focused, performance-driven culture of the company.
We designed operating guidelines for American Airlines’ forced distribution system — policy statements, FAQ documents, and operating procedures. We created and conducted a train-the- trainer program that enabled trainers to explain the forced distribution process and to facilitate calibration sessions. And we developed a communications program for management to introduce, explain, and advocate the new forced distribution system.
Despite initial employee and management skepticism, the forced distribution process was successfully implemented and continues to operate as designed.