Like Alexander the Great weeping at the realization that there were no more words to conquer, Jamie Dimon seems like he may be getting increasingly bored by his potent reign atop American banking.
He is now the longest tenured CEO of the major banks by far, the Wells Fargo debacle has gifted JPMorgan the title of largest American bank, and he has weathered a surfeit of storms while watching many of his contemporaries and rivals sink under similar conditions. Jamie has even watched diversional annoyances like Mike Mayo fall somewhat by the wayside. As the poet said, "It's good to be the king"....but what if the king is really, really bored?
Now, we're not going to say that Jamie should have capitulated to fate and served the gods of finance in his rightful role as Trump's Treasury Secretary [*cough* #DraftDimon *cough*] but it sure seems like he could use a new challenge. We got a big hint that Jamie is going through something when he appeared at JPM's investor day last week. His ultra loose and off-the-cuff demeanor left us feeling strangely voyeuristic, as if he had let us all see the Jamie that he usually keeps quite guarded.
But if we were looking for any other proof that Jamie is feeling borderline anhedonic these days, Bloomberg just gave us some:
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is shaking up the way it evaluates employees, introducing a mobile tool that lets workers across the sprawling organization send or receive instant critiques of their colleagues.
The software, dubbed Insight360, is meant to foster development of the bank’s 243,000 staff, according to a memo Thursday from John Donnelly, head of human resources at the New York-based company. Executives at the bank found many workers, especially millennials, crave constant feedback instead of a traditional once-a-year performance review.
Hmm, does that sound familiar? "Fostering development" by constructing a constant feedback loop of constructive criticism that employees apparently "crave"?
Somewhere in Bridgeport, a pair of naked ears are burning.
At JPMorgan, the new technology means that moments after a meeting or project is completed, a manager can ping participants for reactions on how a specific employee performed, according to Michael D’Ausilio, a managing director in charge of performance development. Workers can also request written critiques or give unsolicited reviews about their colleagues. The person who initiates the query determines who else gets to see the feedback.
“If they walk out of that meeting, they should hear straightaway how they did,” D’Ausilio said in an interview.
Casting his mind out across the Connecticut woods and southwards towards 47th and Park, Ray Dalio pulls back his hooded fleece and whispers "Yessss, my apprentice..."
D’Ausilio acknowledged that the changes could be an adjustment for some employees, whose entire year was previously boiled down into a review featuring one of five ratings, from “needs improvement” to “exceeds expectations.” Annual evaluations will now be broken into four categories, measuring things like business results, client focus, teamwork and risk controls. The firm is also rolling out a development tool, which like Insight360 can be accessed on mobile devices or a desktop, to help track progress.
So this is where we're at. While Steve Mnuchin buttfumbles his way through an internecine conflict with a White house chief-of-staff who hates his face, the man who should be Treasury Secretary is acting like a preternaturally smart teenager so full of ennui that he experiments with drugs. But instead of Adderall, Jamie Dimon is cutting up lines of "Dalio's Principles" and hoping that it makes him - like - feel something.