How is your work performance?

Employee "A" in a company walked up to his manager and asked what my job is for the day?

•The manager took "A" to the bank of a river and asked him to cross the river and reach the other side of the bank.

•"A" completed this task successfully and reported back to the manager about the completion of the task assigned. The manager smiled and said "GOOD JOB".

• Next day Employee "B" reported to the same manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task as above to this person also.

•The Employee "B' before starting the task saw Employee "C" struggling in the river to reach the other side of the bank. He realized "C" has the same task.

•Now "B" not only crossed the river but also helped "C" to cross the river.

•"B" reported back to the manager and the manager smiled and said "VERY GOOD JOB"

•The following day Employee "Q" reported to the same manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task again.

•Employee "Q" before starting the work did some home work and realized "A", "B" & "C" all has done this task before. He met them and understood how they performed.

•He realized that there is a need for a guide and training for doing this task.

•He sat first and wrote down the procedure for crossing the river, he documented the common mistakes people made, and tricks to do the task efficiently and effortlessly.

•Using the methodology he had written down he crossed the river and reported back to the manager along with documented procedure and training material.

•The manger said "Q" you have done an "EXCELLENT JOB".

•The following day Employee "O' reported to the manager and asked him the job for the day. The manager assigned the same task again.

"O" studied the procedure written down by "Q" and sat and thought about the whole task.

He realized company is spending lot of money in getting this task completed. He decided not to cross the river, but sat and designed and implemented a bridge across the river and went back to his manager and said, "You no longer need to assign this task to any one".

The manager smiled and said "Outstanding job 'O'. I am very proud of you."

What is the difference between A, B, Q & O????????

Many a times in life we get tasks to be done at home, at office, at play.,

Most of us end up doing what is expected out of us. Do we feel happy? Most probably yes. We would be often disappointed when the recognition is not meeting our expectation.

Let us compare ourselves with "B". Helping someone else the problem often improves our own skills. There is an old proverb (I do not know the author) "learn to teach and teach to learn". From a company point of view "B" has demonstrated much better skills than "A" since one more task for the company is completed.

"Q" created knowledge base for the team. More often than not, we do the task assigned to us without checking history. Learning from other's mistake is the best way to improve efficiency. This knowledge creation for the team is of immense help. Re-usability reduces cost there by increases productivity of the team. "Q" demonstrated good "team-player" skills,

Now to the outstanding person, "O" made the task irrelevant; he created a Permanent Asset to the team.

If you notice B, Q and O all have demonstrated "team performance" over and above individual performance; they have also demonstrated a very invaluable characteristic known as "INITIATIVE".

Initiative pays of everywhere whether at work or at personal life. If you have initiative you will succeed. Initiative is a continual process and it never ends. This is because this year's achievement is next year's task. You cannot use the same success story every year.

The story provides an instance of performance, where as measurement needs to be spread across at least 6-12 months. Consequently performance should be consistent and evenly spread.

Out-of-Box thinkers are always premium and that is what everyone constantly looks out for. Initiative, Out-of-Box thinking and commitment are the stepping stone to success.

Initiative should be lifelong. Think of out of the box.

From India, Mumbai

Thank you Mr. Ankit for sharing such a nice and simple example on work performance. With this example whoever unaware of work performance can also easily understand. Once again Thank you for explaining the work performance in grass root level.
From India, Kumbakonam
Hey Guys, Thanks a lot for your appreciation and feedback on this post.. Your feedback and suggestions has motivated me to write more and share it with all of my HR friends....
From India, Mumbai
I - An Overview of the road

1. Positive Attitude

2. Clear Objectives

3. Faith in Action

4. Creative Vision

5. Team Work

1. Positive Attitude

a. Face your problems everyday with a new approach;do not try to avoid the problem, do not try to avoid it, face it with the determination and you will overcome it.

b. Remember that positive attitude is a lifestyle, not just a thought. live with passion and love yourself, you will see the change.

2. Clear Objectives

a. Be smart: Set up the objectives that can be reachable and meet your strengths and skills so you will not experiment any frustration. As you will add more skills to our life, you will increase the complexities of your objectives.

b. Close your eyes and look into you and your heart will give you the objectives you really want for your life, the objectives that will make you happy once you get them.

3. Faith in Action

a. Faith in action is a faith that work everyday, it doesn't matter if you fall, if you make the mistakes, you have in yourself to continue to keep yourself working, knowing that you will get it, and nobody will be able to avoid you can find our glory. Tat is faith in Action.

b. Be perseverant and work hard with determination that at the end of the day you will achieve your dream.

4. Creative Vision

a. Visualize yourself as a winner, visualize your life full of happiness and see yourself conquering a star.

b. Be creative to find best solutions to your problem.

c. Close your eyes and have a creative vision of your life when you reach your objectives. Do it on daily basis.

d. That is a kind of habit that will lead to more confident and will give you internal strength.

5. Team Work

a. You are not alone in this world, do yourself a favor, do your homework and get out.

b. You have to understand that you will need right people to compliment your skills to achieve your goals. Inspire them to work with you and share the success with them.

c. That is called team work


a. It seems to be simple but we always make the same mistakes. Our biggest mistake is not trusting ourselves.

b. If you fail once, continue trying and working on your dream, you don't know when the time for your success will be, but prepare yourself for reaching it and for receiving it as a blessing. After all if you do just right things there is just one result without hesitation: THE SUCCESS!!!!!

c. Choose these five ingredients mix with love and passion and prepare it everyday for your life ad yo will see the success coming to you infact a chain of success.

From India, Mumbai
Yeah. It's very nice. But let's look it deeper. For example you come to boss with your bridge but he is not educated enough or he just don't like the bridges and prefer old school and doesn't want to change values. And than what you can do to make company work better? I see 2 ways. Or you can prove your opinion and you will be succeed or boss just will not listening to you.

As an HR who is just start I see a lot of conflict like that where people would like to show initiatives, but sometimes bosses just don't values their ideas. Let's discuss that? How to make communication more effective? How to start listening to each other and crate the environment where everybody listening to each other and where everybody will recognize talents of other people?

For example. When Walt Disney was start his career his first boss said that his ideas is bad. And than he used that ideas to create his famous companies. So. Actually there is a topic for discussing. How to solve all that problems? I mean problem of recognizing talents and different opinions? Please)) Don't speak by stamps. Be creative and use your brain discussing everything.

From Canada, Fort Mcmurray
Nice story.
Initiative is important and separates mediocre workers from the excellent ones and high achievers from the also-rans.
Helping others or documenting the process or figuring out an elegant way to accomplish the same tasks are examples of initiative which are context specific.
For example, if an urgent customer issue comes up, you'd be expected to resolve it in double quick time instead of documenting the process or figuring out other methods. Point being, forms of initiative may change depending on the situation (and we must not fall in the trap of assuming that I will document the process of every task assigned to me) but initiative always is in high demand.

From India, Delhi
Understanding these in advance and taking remedial steps will ensure that performance appraisal in both meaningful and fruitful for the organization.

Problem with Performance Appraisal

The halo effect

The halo effect is introduced when an overall impression of an individual is judged on the basis of a single trait. A high rating on one trait leads automatically to high rating on all other trait. Also, a very high rating may be given to protect an employee for whom there may be personal sympathy

Poorly Trained Managers

Effective performance appraisal doesn't just happen and organizations shouldn't assume that managers know how to conduct them effectively, even if they have many years of experience as managers. In fact, since the process can differ from organization to organization, it is important that training is provided to introduce managers to the philosophy of performance appraisal at the organization, including a review of the forms, the rating system and how the data gathered is used.

The central tendency

It is the most commonly found error. It is the tendency of most rates to give average ratings to all or the centre of the scale. This may be due to the fact that a very high rating or a very low rating could invite questions, criticisms or explanations. Accordingly, an average rating is safer. It could also be due to the fact that the rather lacks sufficient knowledge about the applicant and hence, does not want to commit himself one way to another.

Errors of variable standards

It is quite possible that organizations follow different standards of performance. Some divisional heads may require much higher quality of performance than others.

Inconsistent Ratings

Inter-rater reliability is generally very low between managers at any organization. What one manager considers to be "acceptable" performance, another may consider "not meeting expectations." This can be a challenge for any organization and is made more of a challenge in situations where the criteria used are subjective and not based on any measurable performance outcomes.

Lack of Outcome-Based Measures

PA that asks managers to rate employees on subjective criteria such as "customer service skills" or "leadership ability" lack specific outcomes that can be tied to measurable results. The best performance appraisals provide the ability for both managers and employees to judge performance based on measurable outcomes that are objective; level of sales, safety records and evaluations from customers are all measurable ways of providing insight into an employee's performance.

Other miscellaneous biases

There may be some built - in biases in the minds of the rater, based upon his own perception of things, people and performances. A person may be rated higher because he is a 'nice' person or because of his seniority.

From India, Bangalore
A very good share I must say.

I would like to share a thought that just came to my mind.

Often we talk about the errors made by our managers or supervisors while appraising us. Halo Effect, Central Tendency, Untrained/Poorlly trained Managers, Rater having no knowledge on the actual job role of the person who's being appraised, etc.

However are we taking the appraisal process in the right sense?

Most of us, as employees, believe that appraisal is all about the following -

1. Mangers and Supervisors will rate us and give us some score

2. The HR will manipulate that records and ratings in order to bring in something called as bell curve effect.

3. There would be results not meeting expectations.

4. Managers will decide on salary increment depending on the ratings we finally receive.

5. If we are poorly rated (for whatever reasons) we would either be sent to training period or would be (directly or indirectly) terminated.

But is the performance measurement all about only the above work?

In order to measure something, we must know how to measure it.

In simple words, if we are measure the length of the road, we will use the meter scale.

If we are to measure the quantity of liquid, we would use the liter scale.

If we are to quantity the solid, we would use the kilo scale.

What scale are we to use while measuring the performance???

How would our performance be measured?

What criteria would be taken into consideration.

We take the process so lightly and so much for granted that we never feel obligated to do something to improve our performance.

Do we ever try to find out what are our roles and responsibilities>

What our managers expect from us?

What are our KRAs and KPIs on which we would be judged?

Did we ask the HR about how the performance is converted into numbers?

How is the performance tracked and measured?

It is very convenient to say that we are not rated properly and that some adjustments were made, but we would never consider the option of first knowing what is expected from us and then asking where we lagged so that we improve the next time.

It is a very general practice that if someone is rated very low, he or she would look out for new job and change the jobs instead of going to the supervisor and asking what is the gap between the performance and their expectation. Always ensure to get the expectation out of your manager so that you know what would you be judged on.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Ankit Chaturvedi
this is a good story, but my question is whenever our boss or senior assign any work to us we are just do the assigned job, but we never raise any querry that why this job/work, what will be the value of our work when we will complete the task.
we are doing without knowing objective of assigned job/work, but my opinion is we should raise the querry whenever we assigned any job/work..
Rao Rajbir
Sr.Executive HR

From India, Coimbatore

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