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New Book for Managers by R. Mark Janacek Hits It Out of the Park

“The Strike Zone” provides a new way to look at employee and corporate performance, thanks to a new book by a management consultant with decades of national and international experience.

Columbus, OH, June 14, 2016 --( In baseball, performance calls are crisp, clear, and unambiguous. The pitcher is judged on the basis of balls, strikes and outs. Not so when it comes to evaluating performance in the work setting, but a new book released by Dog Ear Publishing aims to simplify this most dreaded of management tasks. Drawing on his decades-long career, author R. Mark Janacek provides new ways of thinking about and managing performance evaluation at both the individual and corporate level.

“The Strike Zone: Evaluating Individual and Corporate Performance-The Art and Science of Pitching Strikes,” which has earned the Dog Ear Publishing Award of Literary Excellence, uses the analogy of baseball to create a new and different approach to evaluating employees.

According to Janacek “many traditional evaluation processes often fail to identify and reward exceptional performers while also failing to correctly identify and deal with poor performers who just don’t cut it.” Janacek offers specific, practical strategies to company executives, general management, and human resource professionals. “The Strike Zone” reveals the 10 most common ‘traps’ found in many evaluation systems, and provides strategies to avoid them.

“A lot of evaluation systems utilize the element of complexity to disguise what is a fundamentally weak system, of little inherent value, and is otherwise worthless. In fact, many systems don’t really afford the evaluator to meaningfully reward and identify outstanding performance.” Janacek said. “On the other hand, as to poorly performing employees - those are just not cutting it, we find most companies don’t want to deal with that either.”

In some cases, Janacek said, “poorly performing employees are given ‘average’ ratings and kept on staff to avoid the unpleasant task of dealing directly with the performance deficit.” He noted that “invariably this forces other employees to do all of some of the poor performer’s work. Indeed, this scenario is dysfunctional, unproductive, and very expensive. Sadly it is tolerated far too long in far too many organizations as the cost of doing business.”

Janacek noted that “in many organizations the evaluation of individual performance is a bit of a game of ‘check the boxes and score everyone as average.’ This is done to proffer a more politically acceptable message to company leadership.” he said. “When this is done, we can only critique the practice to be an enormous waste of time, effort, and lost opportunity.”

Janacek said in many cases the performance evaluation system “is equally despised by evaluators as well as those being evaluated. In that sense evaluation becomes an artificial and dreaded ritual rather than a meaningful and robust improvement process.”

“The Strike Zone” challenges organizations to take a step back from the edge, start calling balls, strikes and outs regarding performance, and experience the benefit of improved performance as the culture is transformed.

The book outlines how the players in any organization: employees (pitchers), customers (catchers), the competition (batter), performance evaluation system (umpires) and the skipper (manager) all contribute to performance outcomes. The book emphasizes importance of strong leadership trained to utilize candor vs. political correctness, along with other specific evaluation techniques to achieve optimal performance. This innovative book aims to help managers and organizations understand the benefits of “The Strike Zone” evaluation method and get the best performance from their most valuable resource – their employees.

A portion of proceeds from the book will go to charities related to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Charitable recipients include The Ohio State University’s Julie Bonasera ALS Research Fund, which supports the scientific and clinical research of ALS at the OSU Medical School’s Department of Neurology, and the Stephen Gross ALS Fund in Columbus, established to help support the ongoing needs of Mr. Stephen Gross and family, personal friends of Janacek.

Janacek has more than 35 years of experience in management consulting both nationally and internationally working with Fortune 100 companies and others around the world. Before joining the corporate world, Janacek worked as a broadcast journalist. He resides near Columbus, Ohio.

The book features the creative contributions of Rayah Jaymes with black and white original illustrations of iconic MLB figures created especially for “The Strike Zone.”

For additional information, please visit

The Strike Zone: Evaluating Individual and Corporate Performance
R. Mark Janacek
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-4265-7 170 pages $14.95 US Perfectbound
ISBN: 978-1-4575-4608-2 170 pages $19.95 US Hardcover

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