Published: 10/01/2001, Volume 112, No. 5787 Page 22 23

I am incredulous at the attitude taken by many managers to 'performance management' and 'star systems'. If at school, a teacher gave you a silver star for your work but a gold star to another child, did you cry out, 'It is not fair - you shouldn't judge me on a star system'? I doubt it.

More likely you thought: 'Wow - a silver star. Maybe next time, if I work really hard, I may get a gold star, ' and you probably did.

Equally, didn't you have subjects in secondary school where you were weaker than other pupils, and wasn't this identified by means of assessment?

Was this not fair either? Or did it make you work harder at these eareas? Perhaps if managers didn't have this 'big stick' mentality, they might think:

'Let's get ourselves up there, let's try to be the best.' It is amazing what a change of attitude can do.

Amanda Jelley Student nurse Liverpool John Moores University