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Assessing performance ought to be every manager’s meat, the one area in which he or she strives to obtain as fair and equitable a result as possible. Yet as we at IMG work with Sports Illustrated to produce our annual “Sportsman of the Year” gala, I’m frequently reminded of the capricious and mysterious ways that fate anoints some people stars and others also-rans. After all, what could be more perplexing than weighing the accomplishments of the world’s most accomplished athletes? How do you rank a Lance Armstrong against a Bonds Bonds, a Venus Williams vs. an Annika Sorenstam?

Yet we in the sports and entertainment world do have our formulas, our criteria, and our processes that assure we come up with a result that is neither glaringly wrong nor stupefyingly obvious — just as a manger of a Kinko’s or a McDonald’s has his system, too, whether based on the number of photocopiers in use or hamburgers flipped.

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