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Dipesh Majumdar

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Can't please boss... Be data maniac then...

February 10, 2012

How well you have carried out the project works that were expected from you? Did you go the extra mile? What is expected from you? Who will you answer these questions? Who will decide if the performance rating you got was in accordance with your actual perfomance?  
 
The answer is data. Proof.
 
Now a days performance is data driven. Show me the appreciation letters. Show me the revenue attached with your name. Show me the number of projects and their duration that you have been part of. The boss talks in these tones and sometimes even when one of his subordinate enjoys a slight prejudice, he is helpless as data screams the loudest.

Data is emotion-less, naked truth and inert in nature. It doesn't care for the subject in concern and has no bias. You don't have to please it to make it play its role during your time of need. You simply have to preserve it, organize it and retrieve the right data when needed. It is as faithful as a dog to its master, as reliable as a mother is towards her child and as simple as a 'two plus two equals four'. But sometimes the simplest things on earth are hard to conceive, maintain and perform. That is why we struggle to retrieve the right data at the right time. We curse our fate, the sun, moon and the planets for our misfortune, not understanding that had we presented the right data, we would have got our due - a promotion, a hike or a better performance rating.

Maintaining proper data for one cycle of evaluation of performance in the organization you work is a two step process -
 1. Quantify your goals and make them chunks of measurable milestones. Quantification can be tricky because sometimes an idea is vague. For example, how to decide if a candidate takes initiative or not? Therefore one has to record exact incidents and preserve them diligently. In this case if an employee had sent three reminder emails to another onsite team and after that a certain piece of work got executed, then he can preserve these email screenshots in a word document and then provide details of that piece of work below the  screenshots of the email in the same document. This word document can be placed in a branch folder by name 'initiatives' inside the root folder named 'performance goals'. 
                                                                                     
 2. Show the right data as proofs that you met those measurable milestones at the time of evaluation of your performance. In this case you can come up with the word document we mentioned under point no. 1 when you need to prove that you had taken initiatives in your work.

This two step process can help transform hard effort into tangible rewards. This makes every endeavour measurable. Project performance can be measured by appreciation letters from clients. Value addition can be measured by project code you were attached with and revenue generated by those projects. Eligibility can be measured by the number of certifications you completed, number of initiatives you took and other measurable parameters.

Traditionally an employee needed to be in the good books of his  boss. Good performance would be secondary. Buttering up and pleasing the boss, becoming a yes-man in all circumstances used to be the most important way of getting an A-grade or a promotion. Feeding the boss's ego throughout the year used to do the trick. No doubt, it still exists and continues to be the best way of thriving in the corporate world. However data is a boon to those who find it difficult to appease their masters and butter up their back so easily and so often and without the slightest qualms.

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