Coopetition

Intel is all about doing great things. Our vision statement is audacious: “This decade we will create and extend computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth.” We think big and we try to do things really well.

When it comes to performance management, one important component is your annual review and compensation adjustment. We call our approach “Focal”, which is short for “focal point system”, meaning we all get our reviews at the same time, not on our individual service anniversary dates. We’ve put together a combination of several best practices across various stages of the process to create a system that emphasizes differentiation (individual pay for performance) and important elements of egalitarianism (we’re all in this together).

It may seem odd to have differentiation and egalitarianism co-existing. It’s like competition and cooperation in one bundle. It’s like both giving everyone on the soccer team a trophy and still naming a Most Valuable Player. But isn’t that how teams actually work? You want to challenge yourself and do your best, but also help your team win. It’s actually not that odd. “Coopetition” is natural and like many things, it just requires balance.

But, for all its goodness, Focal takes a lot of time and energy. We asked ourselves if we could achieve the same or better performance and teamwork with a simpler system. At Intel, we think lean and that’s another thing we try to do really well. After looking at the Focal process carefully, designing and piloting some changes, and checking the results, we liked what we saw: we’re moving faster through Focal and seeing better results. So, we’re starting to make changes to Focal across the company.

It’s all about being all about moving faster on designing and building the next generation of products and gets us closer to our vision. And we’re all about that.

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