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When I worked for you, I thought I was Superman

September 20, 2012 1 comment

When I worked for you, I thought I was Superman. I have occasionally reflected on why that was. Not sure I know all the answers, but the things I do know are that the environment was real, the energy was high, and the crap was low.

Thank You Prakash I used to be a Superman for a brief period of time in my career Smile

Quote from http://www.fastcompany.com/3001328/how-make-your-employees-feel-superheroes

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April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Excellent ads, I was looking for these ad films for a long time.

Marketing Worth Remembering!

I was still in school when TVCs introducing a new brand called Chevrolet screened across channels of all genres from sports to vernacular entertainment. The well orchestrated brand entry aided by spectacular launch campaign commercials helped the brand win the hearts of millions right from its launch. I have chosen to blog on this topic for two reasons: i) I like brand entries and launch campaigns for a fact. ii) Like I mentioned in the first post of this blog, I can never resist the temptation to blog on brands that are so close to my heart.

Dwelling deep into the launch commercials one would find that the TVCs were simply stunning. The message was about a bold brand yet it was conveyed in such gentle fashion that it sparked of a mild curiosity among viewers on what this new campaign called ‘I am Chevrolet’ was all about. Igniting that…

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Expectations

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

One morning a butcher was surprised to see a dog enter his shop with a note in his mouth. He took the note and it read  “Can I have twelve sausages and a leg of lamb, please?” The dog had money on his mouth, as well. So the butcher took the money and put the sausages and mat in a bag, placing it in the dog’s mouth. The butcher was impressed, and since it was closing time, he decided to follow the dog.

The dog was walking down the street when he came to level crossing, he put down the bag, jumped up and pressed the button. Then he waited patiently, bag in the mouth, for the lights to turn green. When they did, he walked across the road, with butcher following him.

The dog then came to a bus stop and started looking at timetable. He the sat on one of the seats provided and waited. Along came a bus. The dog walked round to the front, looked at the number, and went back to his seat. Another bus came along. Again the dog went and looked the number, notice it was right bus, and climbed on. The butcher, by now, open-mouthed, followed him onto the bus. The bus traveled through the town and out into the suburbs, the dog looking at the scenery. Eventually he got up and moved to the front of the bus. He stood on two back paws and pushed the button to stop the bus. When the bus stopped, he got off, his groceries still in his mouth. The butcher followed.

Finally dog turned into a house. He walked up the path, and dropped the bag on the step. Then he rang the doorbell. There was no response from inside. The dog walked back down the path, then ran and flung the door, himself against the door. The butcher watches, big guy opens the door and start abusing the dog, kicking him and punching him and swearing at him.

The butcher runs forward and stops the man, “What in heaven’s name are you doing? This dog is genius.”

The man responds: “ you call this clever ? This is the second time this week that this stupid dog forgotten his key”

Lesson:

You may continue to exceed onlooker’s expectations but you will always falls short of bosses’ expectations

Source: A forwarded e-mail.

PS: Don’t read too much into the parable, it is just to make you laugh.

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Thank you

January 9, 2011 Leave a comment

I am completing 4 years in my current job today. It was a memorable year in terms of experience gained / lessons learnt.

Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment.  ~Rita Mae Brown

That’s right I judged quite a few things wrong this year, but the overall result is that I learnt a lot this year than the rest of the years put together. The most important thing is that I survived and I am doing well enough to tell the tale. It would not be possible without help from the team I am working with. Specially I would like to thank Prakash J and Razak.

The highlights of the year

  • I had the privilege and honor of working directly with Prakash J for a couple of weeks in a short business trip to Kettering. I gave Prakash a tough time, but over all in the end I enjoyed the time and it helped me realize what I was missing. I also had the luxury of meeting one of the best product teams in Kettering. It was an inspired lot and enjoyed interacting with them. Special thanks to Naresh who hosted us really well and lead the interactions.
  • I was developing in full steam (uninterrupted) for a decent time to get a delayed project on track. Thanks to Razak for giving me the opportunity.
  • I spent a couple of days developing in full throttle for a client demo. Yeah it was a metadata driven system.
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Happy New Year 2011

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Friends,

Wish you all a happy and prosperous 2011.

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Hello world!

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Hello World. I am in the process of migration from Windows Live Spaces to WordPress. I will be feature complete par with the Windows Live Spaces content in a little bit. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Update: I added a popular posts blog entry linking to the most popular posts that I had written. I had these as lists in Windows Live Spaces, I Could not find an equivalent in wordpress. So I created a blog entry of popular posts and linked to it in a separate sticky post.

Categories: Uncategorized

Lightweight performance review system

March 25, 2010 2 comments

There I said it. Those two phrases are not supposed to used together in the same sentence unless there is a ‘not’ or ‘no’ in the sentence.

Roughly an year ago I read a great commentary on Performance Review Systems in the Great Leadership blog by Dan Mc Carthy via Wally Bock’s Three Star Leadership Blog. I forgot to bookmark the link when I read it last year. Over the course of the year I have searched for it more than a couple of times in vain. Yesterday I had the motivation to search for it again, Yes its Performance Review time again :-). In the process I came across more articles, blogs on the same theme.

All the articles seemed to state:

  • Keep the system / process lightweight and simple
  • It has to be a continuous process.

Seeing this community opinion, just like development / delivery, support groups (in this specific case the HR) also need to embark the agile bandwagon soon.   What follows after this is strictly not my words, all information copied and quoted from the articles. I do not claim credit to any of the information which follows.

Problem:

…Poor performance review processes are rarely the real cause of any legitimate business performance issue – like increasing revenue, market share, reducing costs, etc… and they don’t really contribute to employee satisfaction of productivity (other than generating a lot of complaints). The reality is most employees don’t like getting them and most managers hate doing them…

Solution:

  • A half page for goals, quotas, performance standards, or any other way that describes an employee’s accountabilities. It should pass the “would my mother understand it?” test
  • The other half page has no more than 6 qualitative competencies or critical behaviors required to be successful in the role. Managers could pick from a menu or use the same ones for every job
  • A one page development plan
  • Managers and employees review these two pages at the beginning of the year, and periodically throughout the year
  • At the end of the year, the manager would assess each goal or standard, and provide a simple rating for each competency or behavior, along with a 1 paragraph overall performance summary. All on the same two pages. And then have an authentic, constructive, give-and-take discussion

Comments:
When two guys develop code they’re both developers. If one of them is 4 times more productive than other (which is possible in that area) I see no problem in paying the better performer 4 times as much as the other guy. Now they still develop code. They’re both developers for me. The very same role.
In majority of organizations it won’t be possible to call both guys with the same title and have such difference in remuneration. You have to call one a junior software developer and another senior software specialist. And you have to develop a bunch of documents showing which qualities a person should have to become one or another.
Of course you still can have great performance appraisals as far as a manager do a good job in that area but usually this formal process is used as an excuse for not doing good job here. "Listen, you’re only a junior software developer, I just can’t double your salary. You know, procedures."

from http://www.greatleadershipbydan.com/2009/03/no-bull-performance-review-process.html

The solution to today’s mostly dysfunctional performance appraisal systems isn’t to create another superstructure of a system with different forms and jargon. It’s to make sure that real, effective performance appraisal happens several times a day on the front lines.

from http://blog.threestarleadership.com/2008/10/21/abolish-the-performance-review.aspx

Quarterly? Periodic? That’s idiotic. You don’t wait to praise a good behavior or correct a different one and hope to be effective.  You want to talk to people about what they’re doing as close to the action as possible.

That means you don’t do this by blocking out key review dates on the calendar.  You check in frequently with the people who work for you. And you take every contact as an opportunity to coach, counsel, encourage and correct.

That day-to-day counseling is the important work.  Do it right and those formal reviews will go well. Neglect it and every formal review becomes a contest.

from: http://blog.threestarleadership.com/2007/05/07/performance-management-systems-that-dont-perform.aspx

"Let’s put it diplomatically and take the emotion out of it: The whole performance-review process, now in season, doesn’t exactly exceed expectations. Whether these annual events are meant to weed out laggards, reward achievers, assist development or act simply as a liability shield against discrimination lawsuits is anybody’s guess. Whatever their purpose, they attempt to give employees an individualized and intimate portrayal of their performance, but can end up saying more about the company than the individual."

The core problem is pretty simple. In most places the performance review is seen as an event that’s centered on a form that gets filed every year. It should be a process centered on individual workers that’s implemented every day.

If you see performance appraisal as a process that’s a routine part of daily work you can make lots of small corrections in behavior and performance. You don’t have to put in extraordinary effort to try to make big corrections at annual appraisal time.

from: http://blog.threestarleadership.com/2007/11/20/everybody-knows-the-performance-appraisal-system-is-broken.aspx

Q. And how do you give feedback?

A. I have the puppy theory. When the puppy pees on the carpet, you say something right then because you don’t say six months later, “Remember that day, January 12th, when you peed on the carpet?” That doesn’t make any sense. “This is what’s on my mind. This is quick feedback.” And then I’m on to the next thing.

If I had my way I wouldn’t do annual reviews, if I felt that everybody would be more honest about positive and negative feedback along the way. I think the annual review process is so antiquated. I almost would rather ask each employee to tell us if they’ve had a meaningful conversation with their manager this quarter. Yes or no. And if they say no, they ought to have one. I don’t even need to know what it is. But if you viewed it as meaningful, then that’s all that counts.

from: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/business/18corner.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

  • TWO PEOPLE, TWO MIND-SETS – Boss and Subordinate

  • PERFORMANCE DOESN’T DETERMINE PAY

    …Raises are then determined by the boss, and the boss’s boss, largely as a result of the marketplace or the budget…


  • OBJECTIVITY IS SUBJECTIVE

    …when people switch bosses, they often receive sharply different evaluations from the new bosses to whom they now report…


  • ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL

    "Employees all come with their own characteristics, strong suits and imperfections that they orchestrate in every attempt to perform their best. Because no two people come similarly equipped, they draw upon the unique pluses and minuses they were endowed with at birth along with compensatory assets they subsequently developed.

    And yet in a performance review, employees are supposed to be measured along some predetermined checklist" …


  • PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT IS IMPEDED


  • DISRUPTION TO TEAMWORK


  • IMMORALITY OF JUSTIFYING CORPORATE IMPROVEMENT

    Instead of energizing individuals, they are dispiriting and create cynicism. Instead of stimulating corporate effectiveness, they lead to just-in-case and cover-your-behind activities that reduce the amount of time that could be put to productive use. Instead of promoting directness, honesty and candor, they stimulate inauthentic conversations in which people cast self-interested pursuits as essential company activities.

  • from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122426318874844933.html#printMode

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