“Democracy has been described as four wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch” See https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Democracy ...
Forced distribution reviews are the wolves “voting” (with their words in general, especially to the boss) on having the sheep for lunch. The wolves are those who will do just about anything to “fence out” their competition. They never engage in real teamwork or training others (with the exception of working with their buddies in the “in group”, to fence out the chosen scapegoat(s)). For them, their own career vastly outranks serving the customer. Engage in only the APPEARANCES of teamwork, and serving the customer.
The sheep are the opposite, and they WILL actually engage in sincere teamwork, and sincere training of others. After years of dog-eat-dog and wolves-eat-sheep and constant layoffs, in the worst departments, there are many wolves and few sheep left.
What it takes is ethical management which is also emotionally intelligent enough to tell the wolves from the sheep, among their direct reports. But those few managers who have all that, are busy fighting off the wolves who are playing the same game against them, at their level. To be a sheep, and to survive, one may have to spend ¼ to 1/3 of one’s time fending off the wolves, in the worst departments. Some of the best managers have lost these battles (at least some wolves among the management have also been laid off, from what I have seen, fortunately).
@WGraMHB-lww is correct in saying that whatever the official (written) policy is, competition for limited rewards is always a reality. And @WGraMHB-uoi is correct in saying (paraphrased) that only time will tell if the policy has REALLY changed… Or is it just a name-change.
Everyone behaving more ethically is the real fix. Written policy can only do so much. It would be symbolically helpful at the very least, to have ½ of your review be based on, are you working well with others, to serve the customers? Or are you serving yourself? But life is complex… The wolves will now try their utter best to look like team players, and to make you look like a non-team-player!