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. ..

 

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..

Simple tips for getting work done


While I talk to students there is one complain I hear, and that is  not having enough time in a day to learn something new  and they are always distracted by friends or TV or other activities. I always wonder what will happen to them when they start working in a very challenging work environment when they get hired. Modern work is very challenging and at the same time companies are trying to squeeze more work from employees in less time.  During the day you will be constantly distracted by emails from colleagues, friends and others. You will be called into meetings. You will be disturbed by people walking to your cubicle and chatting with you.You may be tempted to watch a new song or video online or shop for something online. Your friends want to go to a movie with you.  All these consume time , that otherwise you might be spending on finishing the work/studies  you supposed to finish that day.

When you are not prepared for that kind of environment then you will end up frustrated, ruin your health as tensions rise with approaching deadlines of finishing work on time. Also Many of us ignore the signals body sends as we get immersed in stressful work environment. 

In order to achieve what you planned to do you need to focus on that task only.

So let’s see how to be effective with time we have in a day and save ourselves from ruining our health or frustrated for not able to do enough in a day. In the age of distractions what research and one Harvard professor  said is that you should break your day time into intervals of 90/60/30 minutes with 5/10 minutes of break. For 90/60/30 minutes you should only focus on the most urgent work by not getting distracted from any kind of activities that distracts you. That 90/60/30 minutes you should have  patience, attention to details, concentration, and should have reverence for the moment.  Then take a break of 5 to 10 minutes go enjoy the nature or do yoga,spend time with friends,  play a instrument or take a walk or do something that won’t consume more than that 5 or 10 minutes and keeps your mind pleasant for the next 90  or 60 or 30  minute time slot work or studies.

There is no hard and fast rule that you should slot your day into 90 minutes schedules only. It can be 60 minutes of intense work/ studies and a 5/10 minutes break. Scheduling the time slots is up to you. If you can focus witout distraction for 90 minutes then you can do the 90 minutes rule. Without a doubt focus and concentration are the keys to productivity. It has been shown that when we come off a task or are distracted it can take a substantial amount of time to get back on task. You cannot really manage time, but you can manage yourself with this kind of planning.  This is especially helpful if you have several competing priorities and need to focus on one at a time.

With this kind of planning you can achieve 12 hours of work in 4 to 5 hours of time depending on what  kind of challenging work /studies you are involved in.

Here are the links for learning more on this techniques of time management   http://pomodorotechnique.com/ and

http://elembee.com/time-management-for-creatives/

https://forum.quantifiedself.com/thread-my-pomodoro-experiment

http://99u.com/articles/7032/a-day-without-distraction-lessons-learned-from-12-hrs-of-forced-focus

Your 5 to 10 minutes breaks can be used for improving health. Check this info http://www.escardio.org/about/press/press-releases/pr-11/Pages/Sedentary-time-EHJ.aspx

Measure your happiness, How your face looks at 60?


We all want to be Happy. Do you agree? Then read this and it will make you happy.

In this digitally connected world we are  becoming heavily busy and miss the opportunity to analyze and introspect ourselves and  what makes us happy .  Most of us are so busy checking our emails, socializing with friends on Facebook , twitter and other sites, spending time in movie halls or working towards our goals and don’t have time to take a snapshot of day’s events and judge how we reacted to each event or situation that happens to us during the day.

We have a choice to be reactive or be creative,  but most of the time we spend days, months and years in a reactive mode by attending to our daily chores. We don’t think much about the routine we perform everyday and get used to the daily grind. Due to that we slowly stop thinking that things can be done in a much better way and our day can be more productive by questioning our daily routine and how we perform it. We just need to become more creative and focus on improving our daily routine. The net result of improving our quality of life leads to some spare time so that we can use the same  to reflect inwards and check what actions, incidents and events during the day makes us Happy and which ones makes us Sad. By introspecting about our selves deeply,  helps us to improve our happiness levels for the rest of the life.

We have technology to assists us to monitor our day’s events, happenings , our moods and experiences towards such events and happenings. By tracking our everyday living we can get rid of things that makes us Sad or ignorant and improve and strengthen our practices that makes us Happy. Introspecting and self analysis of our behaviors helps us tremendously in improving our mental abilities and physical fitness.  Make sure you spare an hour everyday before sleep to analyze the day’s events and how you reacted.  Which action of yours made you feel happy , helped in enriching you and which one is neutral and which one made you Sad. By doing that everyday you will start finding a pattern about how well you are shaping your life.  Remember the saying

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll

In order to help you monitor your day i’m giving you the links of some great self  data mining tools. Enjoy and remember that you can always have a “better life with best practices ” (Skillsnest tag line) and  a quote from Ben frankling to motivate you for a good life.    “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Ben Franklin

https://www.rescuetime.com/signup/solo/lite

http://runkeeper.com/  to measure how many calories you burnt during your workout

http://www.realidata.com/cgi-bin/rTracker/iPhone/rTracker-main.pl

http://www.quantified-mind.com/

http://quantifiedself.com/2013/07/ashish-mukharji-on-three-years-of-tracking-happiness/

http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/

http://quantifiedself.com/2013/04/konstantin-augemberg-on-tracking-happiness/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOETUvaOxDA&feature=youtu.be

http://anniemurphypaul.com/2013/07/how-daydreaming-can-help-you-pay-attention/

Want to know how you look when you are old?

You can also make your choices to be happy as you grow older. But no one gives a serious thought about aging until we reach a stage where the symptoms of oldness shows up in the form of body becoming weak and vulnerable to diseases.  There are websites that would show you how you look when you are 60 or how many calories you will gain in the future with your present life styles etc.

Click here to know how you will look at age 60 and beyond http://faceretirement.merrilledge.com/

http://www.futureme.org/

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

As you build your career you may want the world to know about you and your experiences , skills and expertise. There are couple of good websites that allow you to promote your selves such as follows

http://www.expertfile.com/

https://about.me/

http://zerply.com/about