The new technique of Performance reviews


PR is different in different companies and the aim is to align employees to the goals of the company. But all said and done PR can create mixed emotions in employees and many feel stressful to know the shortcomings.

Performance reviews thru ratings also have shortcomings because of the bias in the perceptions it carries and it is imperfect science.

So in many ways Performance reviews are having challenges that will not bring the best intentions of the management nor satisfies employees.

I felt this whole exercise needs to be redefined in different ways. The following are my thoughts on this.  Please do not hesitate to add your feedback or comments.

This exercise should be preferably done by HR or Admin teams.

 

  • For the present financial year, HR with help from sales, marketing, and management teams should prepare a chart. That should contain details of required skills, competencies, overall revenue targets, expected sales, expected new skills, competencies needed etc. in the form a visual representation. This competencies/skills can be categorized on employee designations if needed and corresponding revenue targets should be matched.
  • HR should then make another matching visual representation of Skills, competencies and experiences of each employee and distribute the revenue targets across them. This can be done in the form of potential revenue generation capabilities and expected competencies in the form of what could be realized if a new skill is acquired. A sample for an employee by name Bob is as follows

PR

  • By categorizing the required competencies of each area and matching the same with specific employees skills will throw open the gaps that still need to be fulfilled by Bob.
  • Revenue targets that matches the above employee’s skills, competencies, experiences should be matched to each employee and discounted.
  • Now it becomes clear that there will be gaps due to forecasted sales in areas that need new competencies, or deficiencies in certain areas for people whose role needs that skill or competency or experience.
  • That should be made visible to employee and employer in a centralized location and accessible to everyone. As the employee meets the revenue targets or skills targets in the form of deliveries in the new skills area, data values of the above graphs should be adjusted during the year. That will instantly provide information to both employee and employer about the performance of every one.
  • Same exercise should be repeated for any other target areas such as employee’s growth, special contributions etc. as needed by the company.

There are several advantages with the above method. It makes employees to check their improvements as and when they want and becomes a major morale booster when they see the graph’s real time changes. It helps management to take corrective action and help employees as needed. PR exercise becomes much easier, seamless and highly visible.

Ultimately every PR aim is to achieve high productivity, keep employees happy, equip them with skills that are needed, help them to grow along with the organization, pay well and at the same time make sure the company’s target goals are achieved.

What helps firms to become successful in reaching their goals is by documenting major risks,  issues, potential problems, Known resolutions, ways of mitigating issues (example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andon_(manufacturing) )  and helping employees to have access to the knowledge database so they won’t repeat the mistakes.

Your thoughts please. ..

 

Time to standardize product structures


The Boston consulting group predicts that 10% to 30% of the goods that America now imports from China will be made at home by the year 2020, resulting in proceeds of up to $55 Billion a year.

The maker’s movement is gaining strength with rapid advancements in some technologies such as 3D printing and the new concept of distributed manufacturing becoming real.

Earlier prototyping of products have to be done either in China or elsewhere with tens of thousands of Dollars in costs but now a lot of prototyping of products are happening locally and resulting in low cost and the turnover is very rapid.

The above are some of the trends in product manufacturing which needs certain standardization in order to streamline the creativity, resources, money and new inventions in proper direction to solve the planets ever changing requirements.

Here is what I propose.

  • It all starts with Inventory part nomenclature standardization. I wrote a blog on this topic here. time-standardize-inventory-parts-data
  • An international team of manufacturing experts should be nominated for framing the standardization process for inventory nomenclature and product family/grouping and product structure nomenclature.
  • The team will be formulated by international trade organization (WTO) and will be initially funded by them until the whole process is completed and becomes self-sustainable.
  • Long term Sustainability should be mandated to make this effort profitable by WTO. Some of the ideas for this are given below.
  • The product structures should then be categorized on the same lines like Botanical nomenclature.
  • Next we need to create a cloud platform where all product structures are made available for everyone to access, excluding some sensitive (Defence) and copy protected ones.
  • Then we need to create Application programming interfaces (API) and other apps for accessing the Product structures by interested parties.
  • The API ‘s and other apps should be flexible enough to allow users to create new structures from the existing ones and also where able to connect to their own databases to transfer the structures as needed.
  • All the services should be charged for sustaining the standardization efforts.
  • Guidelines should be mandated for product structure usage and migration to user’s internal usage.
  • Guidelines also needed to monitor the new product inventions, accessibility of the new inventions and standardization of the same.
  • All global language translations for the product structures should be undertaken by crowdsourcing the same.
  • Every nation should have a team of experts to advice the core team on the standardization efforts and this team will be compensated from the WTO funds.

Benefits

  1. Redundancy of Product structures will be eliminated and standardization will increase operational efficiency and reduce cost of procurement, administrative and other costs for users.
  2. Same quality products will now be available for global citizens on equal terms with only pricing variations.
  3. Makes it easy to source semi-finished products or materials at the fraction of a cost due to visibility of the same from across the planet. Helps in supply chain logistics efficiencies and also reduce costs of transportation. This in turn reduces global warming due to less use of Oil.
  4. The huge network of users will now be able to talk to each other and can create new business opportunities for themselves and indirectly to nations by creating new employment opportunities and new start-up companies.
  5. The flexibility to mix and match products on the fly becomes easy for new inventions and trigger new creative ideas and new products.
  6. Rapid prototyping of new product inventions becomes easy from the existing ones.
  7. New business ideas and new start-ups ideas are possible due to democratization of inventory nomenclature and Product structure nomenclature.
  8. Many of the benefits that I mentioned in the inventory standardization will also apply here.

 

Please let me know what you think

A new Proposal to Modernize farming In India and end Farmer suicides.


Climate change is the real game changer for this initiative. Small and medium Farmers are not equipped to deal /understand planets changing food habitat. I wrote about this way back in 2011. https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/climate-change-get-used-to-new-kind-of-food/

The new idea to solve the problems of farmers is as follows.

Milestones that can be achieved : Banks spared from Loan losses, rural employment, Evolution of new business models, increase in soil fertility, crop yields due to scientific farming methods, agri-soil data analytics,  climate analytics, productivity gains in food supply logistics, new startups possibility and rural villages will thrive. Reduction/Elimination of corruption in agricultural activities .

Problem:

Small and medium farmers are succumbing to the enormous amount of debts, rising cost of living and failure of crops due to drought or excess rainfall or due to bad quality seeds and poor farming practices.

Banks stopped giving fresh loans, the government reimbursements end up paying old debts, fertilizer prizes are skyrocketing and private loan sharks loot whatever is left with the poor families of the farmer.

Banks targeted loan payments is 15, 000 crores but they disbursed just 6000 crores according to a regional newspaper article (link provided below).

Even if farmer succeed to raise crops the middle men robs the profits by paying a fraction of the amount and making bumper profits from the sales of the farmers yields in the open market. This is because all these small farmers do not have the financial leverage to store their produce nor to take it to the markets and sell.

On top of it the politicians use the situation for their advantage in the form of short term popular policies to garner more votes. They do not sincerely show empathy, passion to solve the problem.

Even if they announce policies with good intention there is no strict follow up to the end and in the name of these policies political and middle men swindle more money. In a nutshell there is no proper planning/auditing till the “LAST MILE” in everything the Government does constantly for ever.

The consequences: Due to above factors and many other reasons farmers are attempting suicide and families are coming on to the roads.

The situation is grave in many southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana   India.

In regional newspaper (http://eenadu.net/news/newsitem.aspx?item=hyd-panel&no=1 ) the following statistics are given about the farmers suicides.

In the above states since 1997 till 2013 the suicides have risen from 1097 to 2014 and during 2015 there are around 1000 suicides.

The situation is becoming worse for the farmers who feed the nations billions of people.

The present solution:

Government implements popular measures of reimbursements, short term help to farmers in the form of subsidy and other methods. All of the present methods are short term solutions without any substantial benefits to the farmers for long term.

The policies of the government appears as a reaction measures only not preventive measures.

Opposition parties try their best to gain sympathy for more votes for their future elections from this fiasco.

The failure of the present solution

Some of these reimbursements end up with several rich farmers, politicians, their coterie of gangs and fake account holders who capitalize on these more than the real farmers who needs them. The whole system of reimbursement is full of looting and exploitation by some vested interests starting from the politician to influential people in the society.

The same thing happens in several other infrastructure developments, where government money is spent. These cartel of powerful politician, businessmen and their coterie of gangs make the most of every developmental work in India. The results of the infrastructure development is of low quality work and creates bad image about the country to outsiders.

The new solution:

To solve the vexing problem I propose the following solutions.

The gist of the proposal is to change the language and the perception of problem definition in order to get a right solution.

I redefined this problem from a corporate perceptive and framed my question of the problem. The question is now reframed as follows.

“How to sustain a business for long term while solving the present challenges”

By focusing on the problem in several other form of questions as above I could come to the following solution. If implemented this will solve several problems, country like India faces.

My purpose is to bring agricultural practices to a level playing field across the country with global best practices implemented with grassroot realities and development.

  1. Under national skills development program train students/ others who are interested in Agriculture to modern farming methods sourcing the best practices from countries such as Israel.
  2. Educate the farmers to outsource their lands for a fixed amount payable quarterly or half yearly. The land still belongs to them but the work is outsourced to professional farming companies. Pool all the small and medium farmers’ lands together to make a large agricultural land available for large scale farming with most modern methods sourced from across the globe.
  3. Use the trained students / others / owners of the farm lands to work in the fields with the best international practice implementations. Pay for their work as regular salaries or for a fixed price. Job creation for rural youth.
  4. Rope in venture capital funding agencies, businesses and global equity / money market funds and encourage them to invest in agriculture with tax benefits for the investments.
  5. Allow start up entrepreneurs work closely with cultivators to come up with new apps, products , services , storage facilities, logistics and other closely related works with venture funds made available for them.
  6. Support start-up companies that handle the logistics of preserving the food grains , transporting food till it reaches every house hold.
  7. Let government not involved in the whole supply chain logistics including the Last Mile but make sure to monitor strictly the whole process with regular checks and cross checks.

Benefits from the above method:

  1. Farmers are assured with fixed incomes from their lands.
  2. Banks need not take the burden of non-payment of loans nor they need not allocate huge amounts for loans and end up with NPA’s (Non-performing assets).
  3. Government need not spend huge amounts on reimbursements
  4. Eliminate middle men, brokers from the food supply chain.
  5. Provide opportunities for start-up business to flourish which will in turn gives more employment to rural youth.
  6. Land pooling will help in producing more and diversified crops with yields better than segmented pieces of lands cultivation.
  7. Misuse or excess use of fertilizers, chemicals, and pesticides can be eliminated since the farming is done by professionals.
  8. Helps in streamlining of food supply chain logistics and encourages ancillary units development in and around the villages.
  9. Local youth will become productive by honing their farming skills in the national skills development program and they get exposure to industry best practices. Solves unemployment and youth turning to crime problems.
  10. Helps entrepreneurs to come up with more start up ideas around agriculture with agricultural e commerce , apps development in ebay like auctions to flipkart like retails sales.
  • Provides opportunity for new business models to evolve from this.

Conclusion.

Check this video of the reality of the food problem and other facts about Indian situations . http://www.storypick.com/man-in-bus-video/

With further honing of the above idea Government can focus on support and sustenance of the projects and private professional players taking care of the real work. Slowly government can untangle from Commerce /business completely, by gradually outsourcing all the work to outside agencies and that will reduce the corruption in the country to a large extent.

I felt this is the best method to end Corruption in the country because the roots of all corruption starts from powerful politician, businessmen and percolates down to different government agencies.

Landbank

Flow


After a gap I have gone back accepting global assignments in ERP consulting again. Iám also studying MBA under Andhra University.  I accepted part time work  so that I can spare time for my passion for teaching. I was once a Mentor for MSIT (Master in science and information technology,   under “Center for Higher learning”) course,   in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (USA) at JNTUK campus.  Juggling between global software project work , studying MBA and teaching needs proper time management schedules and I  follow a certain flow  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) for doing my best. I  love getting to my peak performance at anything i take up  pretty quickly. In other word I want to get back to flow. It took a while for me to find the rhythm I needed. But I felt that I should share my experiences with my students and others  who read  my blog. While interacting with students I  found that many are struggling to get the best out of their day  and to find success in whatever they dream of doing.  But many are not able to focus on neither studies nor in other positive actions, that contribute to their success due to lack of willingness to work hard towards their goal, lack of focus ,concentration and the facebook effect  (https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/facebook-or-other-social-websites-are-harmful-to-you/ ) .  If you are building a new machine or developing  software games or you are a software coder you cannot achieve peak performance at your work with just a couple of attempts. It takes some time and good effort to find a rhythm and consistency at your work. If you want to become expert in one area , it takes ten thousand hours of practice to achieve perfection in whatever you do. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/on-luck-success-and-10000-hours.html Here are some ways of getting back to your peak performance of whatever you want to do.

  1. Yoga, Meditation is a proven way of getting back your focus. Try learning the right way of yoga/ meditation and practice it. Yoga improves your health tremendously, and Meditation brings peace and tranquility to a turbulent brain.
  2. Visualization .Imagination.  Many from sports use it. It is mental rehearsal. It enables them to find some way of achieving what they want to. More about it here. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/sport_psych/a/aa091700a.htm
  3. Try doing something that scares you,  for example presenting in front of audience. It is emotional feelings  that have to be controlled to bring the best out of you.
  4. Your study room matters a lot. Keep your table tidy. Remove the mountain of books on the table. The more clutter you find on your table the less you ware inspired to study. Otherwise find a serene place where there is good lighting. Well lit parks are good places for yoga,  studies and physical exercise .
  5. Moods matter a lot in whatever you want to do. If the mood is not good then listening to music and going to gym or parks is a good way of relaxing your brain.
  6. For some,  Coffee gives the relaxation they need but too much of coffee is not good for health.
  7. Visiting temples, church or mosque gives the peace of mind you need so that you can come back with peace and work on your assignments. Try that out.
  8. Finding the best time of the day for studies also helps to prioritize what you want to do at that time.
  9. Everyday exercise , morning or evening walks in parks  helps to tone up your body. Prayer, meditation helps your mind.
  10. Doing what you love the most is what matters. So from early stage of life try finding what you love the most and develop the skills you need and find success.

The new idea to make television channels tune to modern times


The market dynamics of today’s business is very fluid and sending back business executives, marketing department heads to rethink the strategies. Even the Data analytic’s on television shows and peoples choices cannot guarantee  a hit show always.  The management principles we learnt in MBA do not come handy anymore. The society’s tastes are in a state of flux and even the deep cultural roots of the nations are shaken and slowly uprooted by the high digital content sharing and massive connectivity of global citizen with one another which is creating a new global culture. The cultural meltdown across the countries and the changing lifestyles have to be considered very seriously for the television channels when they create their content.

I propose the following solution for television shows to survive.

For television shows , your offerings should not come in the way people live. That means your offerings should be part of their daily living. If you understand this deeply the solution becomes easy. 

When a person happens to switch on the Television he/she should be streamed content that should not look like traditional timed shows for that particular time. That means daily news and all types of content (Drama’s, dance competitions, music shows etc.) should be mixed up intelligently by using some analytics and streamed as if it is a drama unfolding unpredictably ,  so the user is always surprised. The idea is to keep people guessing what they are going to watch. This will increase the curiosity and brings in more eyeballs back to television channels.

Presently advertisements are slotted as commercial breaks in between the shows. Even that should be eliminated. Commercials should become part of the streaming content. The actors of the commercials might be a news reader or a drama actor.

The shows should have short life and dramas, music shows and other content should be made in a collaborative effort to stream the same seamlessly.  For example if there are two different dramas with two groups of artists their story line should mutually consider others story lines and the final content should look like the drama is happening seamlessly between two groups and they are all part of this massive and continues evolution of a streaming little stories. The content is one massive story line of little stories.  The daily news, commercials sprinkled in between as part of actor’s or news anchors (they should be part of the story line) telling the audience that day’s news or talking about a product or service ads.

Since news and Commercial breaks are part of the evolving story and same actors or actress are used for the commercials,  nobody will notice the difference between advertisements and regular story and the chance of switching the channels during commercial breaks will be reduced.

Ultimately the aim is to give audience a new way of looking at television as part of their daily routine not as something that they have to spare time to watch a particular show at a particular time and switch channels when there is a commercial break.

I request readers to comment on this idea and also feel free to suggest new ones. Let’s make our living experience better with best practices.

My life story in Six words


One of the habit I’m developing while at my regular walk during Morning and evening is to keep my mind busy with thoughts that might help me with my work and life. One of the routine is to write blogs on something that could  help/inspire someone who reads my blog. I was thinking of writing a blog for quite some time but was busy with guest lectures and a Coursera course (https://www.coursera.org/ )  “Developing innovative Ideas for a New company” I started this March 3rd. This is a six week course but they allowed students to go ahead and finish the course earlier. It occurred to me that I should attempt to complete all six weeks course in Six days of the first week itself but should be able to target for highest marks possible. Guess what, I completed the course but took Ten days (Wednesday 12/3/2014) taking the last quiz before midnight 12.00 PM. So the result is that by constraining to six days forced me to be creative with my daily schedule.

So the constraint that I made for completing my course in six days made me think creatively and set goals to reach it as much as possible. Constraints should enhance creativity not bog you down to stress and anxiety.

The most common problem college students engage is procrastination, the act of ‘putting off something until a future time – postponing or deferring action’. That means most of them become serious with their exams or career planning in the last minute. This creates stress that leads to anxiety.

They come to me with this problem of stress and anxiety due to lack of time (it’s too late). How do I help them?  This became my challenge for  quite some time during my daily walk.  I read extensively on how to reduce stress and anxiety as listed bellows that helps some of the students or employees to overcome their stress and anxiety.  But I was not sure that this research will solve everyone’s problem.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2014/02/21/mikaela-shiffrin-takes-lead-olympic-slalom/fBf912OWzecqxe9RY2h9KM/story.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22755446

http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol5Iss2/ClimbingImagery.htm

The only way stress or anxiety can be reduced is to plan ahead and stick with that plan and reach the goals you want to reach.

But that is not easy with the distractions of daily life. So now I thought let’s explore how to use these constraints of daily distractions, mental weakness, and procrastination to reach our goals or reduce the stress.

I started exploring the web on constraints and came across a story of Ernest Hemingway, a story writer who bet with friends that he could write an entire story in just six words. It seems impossible feat but Hemingway did it as follows

“FOR SALE: Baby Shoes, Never worn”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_sale%3A_baby_shoes%2C_never_worn

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18768430

That excited me to write my life story in six words and here is what it is

Fall ,Rise, plan, achieve, Sorrow , splendid –RK

So procrastination , stress , anxiety , tension or what ever it is that is stopping you becoming great should be used for your advantage.  For me planning , setting goals and also sticking with the goals to the best of my abilities is what made me what I’m today. My physical constraint never bothered me reaching to a better life with best practices. So I wish this blog inspires you all to think how to use your constraints for your advantage creatively…

Now I challenge you to write your life story in six words as comments to this blog.

The links below are some extraordinary “creativity under constraint” stories for you. Enjoy and let me know if you liked this blog and make me happy please by expressing your opinion (it’s long overdue from my readers).

https://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch03_Embrace_Constraints.php

http://99u.com/articles/5993/reel-back-finding-creativity-in-constraints

http://austinkleon.com/newspaperblackout/

http://vimeo.com/55804669

https://www.attendly.com/exceeding-limitations-is-all-about-the-way-you-think/

My favourite talk on TED must watch http://www.ted.com/talks/phil_hansen_embrace_the_shake?embed=true

http://www.sixwordmemoirs.com/

Don’t forget to give your story in six words as comments… Thanks and I appreciate your time reading this blog..

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