Key to your success

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DeliveryIn my many year in the Information Technology industry, I’ve met many types of people that managed to be successful in their career.   Each of those folks has his/her own journey to their desired position.   Some were on a fast track; others have a great or strong network, while others let their work speak for itself.

In my effort to understand their source of success, I observed and watched how they conducted themselves.   How did they interact with others? And, more importantly their relationship with others.

Here are my observations:

  • They connect with their people – they try to understand what their customers want and focus on delighting their customers
  • They have laser sharp focus – they keep their eye on the prize and aim to work toward achieving the goal by leading their team or guiding and/or inspiring them to getting the job done
  • They believe in continuous improvement – learning is a big part of what they do. They seek to learn something new and improve their overall capabilities
  • They invest in others – to increase their overall capacity they develop the people around them. They spend time to enable them to grow and develop
  • Ability to communicate their vision – painting the picture is one thing, but one’s ability to state the way to achieve that goal is priceless. It is also what differentiates successful from unsuccessful people
  • Find new ways of doing things – they try their best to find new ways of doing things. This helps their team learn and stretch outside of their comfort zone
  • They believe in their people – people are still our most important asset. If you don’t care about them, you cannot increase your team’s overall capabilities.   It reminds me of the CFO and the CEO discussion. It goes like this, CFO asks his CEO, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave the company?” CEO answers, ‘What happens if we don’t, and they stay?” To raise the level of our capabilities, we need to develop people around us.
  • Finally, pretty much everyone has the BIG “D”.   The BIG “D” is delivery. Everyone has something that they deliver to help the company financially, productivity, time to market, cost savings or developing others.   Ultimately, people assess your value by your delivery.

To conclude this post, I remember what my father used to tell me when I was young. People will only remember you for the things you do for them.   They value your delivery and will continue to work with you and come back for more because you’re reliable and always get things done.   Let me know your thoughts on my post.

Gamification of Performance Measurement

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CheckedTwo weeks ago when I came home from work, my daughter Maddy declared to me that she now has five stickers for reading five books to date.   She proceeded to explain that they are required to read 50 books for the school year.   I praised her for progress made and encourage her to keep up the good work.

Coincidentally this is the time of the year when we review objectives and evaluate ourselves for the work we did for the year.    Each year, we’re faced with the same challenge on how to better evaluate ourselves and our people consistently.    This is not an easy task.    Sometimes I’ve done a great job being objective with my evaluation then all of a sudden you see other managers being too lenient on their evaluation and your folks end up at the short end the stick.   This challenge of lack of consistency exists in every industry and is experienced by many firms.

So that night, as I proceeded with my nightly learning session, I pondered on my discussion with Maddy.    Back in the early days in school, I remember that our teachers would reward us with stickers or stars for things that we accomplished that, coupled with our test scores, were used to calculate our grades for each of the grading periods and eventually our final grades.    That form of performance and reward system was more accurate, because you clearly get what you put in.   However it is hard to implement that in the real world when there is no consistency in the work that everyone does.

The lack of consistency as to what everyone works on in the workplace did not stop me from stretching the limits of my imagination.  Drawing a parallel between video games and work performance measurement, I suggest gamifying performance measurement.  Here is the guideline:

  • For each project worked on that is completed successful, meaning on time and on budget, you’ll get a badge One.                    .
  • If your project missed its deadline, you’ll in turn get this badge Negative .
  • If you performed a role that helped the team get out of tough situation, you’ll get ½ of the badge as additional recognition on top of your accomplishment on the project.
  • After collecting 10 badges , it will be converted to an 1X badge 1X .
  • If you work on a project that is above and beyond your responsibility, like representing the firm in recruiting or facilitating change in the organization, you’ll earn an extra badge One .
  • The the badge is applicable to all levels in the organization from non-officers to senior managements.
  • At the end of the year, you’ll tally the number of 1X1X  + One  –  Negative = your rating.  You’ll then be ranked amongst your peers for your level.

The advantage of this system is that people will know where they stand throughout the year.   A slight differentiation needs to be applied to folks who are in support positions versus new development.  However, the measurement is the same.    Just like a game, there is a way to show the badges earned and let other people know where they stand throughout the year.

Sometimes when we simplify the challenge, we see an alternate solution amidst chaos.  Would this work?  I believe there is a chance it will.   It will also help improve transparency and promote a spirit of cooperation amongst everyone on the team, because the success of the team is measured against the funding provided for the project.

Let me know what you think.  I’ll be interested to know your thoughts on my suggested approach.