What’s your KRA?

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Now a days, appraisals are going on in each & every company. If you ask any employee about his/her appraisal, most of them are not happy. Employees think they work whole heartedly throughout the year but why their bosses don’t give them good ratings. Employees always have confusion about what is the basis on which the bosses conduct the appraisal, which factors are considered at the time of appraisal. They wonder that what would have done better so they could get better ratings.

On the other hand, I have seen that many owners or top management complain their employees are not taking ownership of their work though they know their job description, roles & responsibilities. There is a huge gap between expectations of employees from the management and the expectations of management from employees.

The interesting fact is; we all know what our job description is but most of the times we don’t know what results are expected from our work. It mostly happens in those departments who don’t have annual targets.

Let me share one of my experiences, one day I was at a client’s office & was analyzing their financial documents & reports. I curiously asked the accountant that, what his KRA was. He told me his KRA one by one like: Ensuring timely & accurate entry of Accounts payable invoices, Generate reports, Pay all taxes timely, Banking transactions etc. He added, he works as per his KRA/Job description.

The reason to ask him was when I analyzed all their financial reports; I observed huge amount was spent on late payment of taxes, cheque bounce charges etc. Though he worked as per his KRA, the results of his work were horrifying.

When we say KRA, we generally talk about our day-to-day actions/tasks but actually KRA is ‘Key Result Areas’. It means, in the end what result is expected from our day-to-day actions.

What should be KRA & how should be those measured?

Let’s take an example of an accountant. The KRA of the accountant can be:

  • There should not be interest paid on late payment of taxes. By default it defines that accountant ensures all taxes are paid on time; arrange funds for quarterly, half yearly or annually payments as per requirements. In case of lack of funds, he should tell to his superior well in advance.
  • Recovery rate should be min x% (eg 85%). It automatically covers all tasks related to recovery like he must raise invoices on time, take follow up for recovery. After a lot of follow-up with clients, he is not able to recover the payment it’s his responsibility to escalate the issue to his superior well in time. Also, he must ensure that whether his superior has taken any actions on that issue or not.
  • Maintain free cash flow. Only generating monthly reports is not important but he must able to show a clear picture to the top management regarding the status of availability of funds, how much fund is required in coming days, where company is spending more than required, what were the unexpected expenses etc.

At the time of appraisal, it makes easy to appraise that person on his KRAs like what results he produced throughout the year, was there any issues, did he communicate to the superior well in advance etc.

In this way, we can create KRAs for other departments too. These are directly linked to the output of the work. The benefit of this, employees will not only get clarity of their work but also they will understand on which factors their appraisal depend on. This will create transparency in the organization. And, if employee knows what is expected from his work, he can take ownership of his task.

Most of the time, it happens that boss takes an appraisal of the employee on his recent actions, behavior & capabilities. Sometime, he may forget about the good work done by that employee in the past. So in such cases, result oriented KRAs help bosses to view the overall performance of the employee in throughout year.

Apart from KRA, appraisals also include the behavior, soft skills & capabilities of the employees. But if you implement results oriented KRAs, I am sure that your more than half of the work gets over because quantitative data speaks a lot than qualitative data.

Friends, just change the perspective from Routine Tasks to Result Areas, you can see the huge difference.

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Easy to Start, Difficult to Sustain!

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On the 1st of January, every year, most of us make many resolutions for upcoming year, thinking that this can be the turning point of our life and this is the perfect time to turn a new page in our life. New Year resolutions involve making lifestyle changes or other important changes. However very few of us are able to achieve these resolutions.Studies say that, the first two weeks of January usually go along beautifully, but by February, people start backsliding and by December, most people are back to where they started. I think, It is very easy to start anything but sustenance is very difficult.
In the last 3-4 years, one of my resolutions was to develop the habit of reading. Every January, I used to read only one book and then I was not able to sustain it.So this year, I did it strategically. I decided to read only one book a month.It was my plan not to overload myself with this goal only.
I followed few steps to accomplish my goal.
1. Declare your goal: It is very important to declare your goal in front of your family members, friends or colleagues. They always remind you of your goal. Sometimes they might laugh at you, but I must say that they are the best reminders in your life.
2. Take small steps: when you decide to do anything new, make a plan of it. Divide the task into small steps.
3. Appreciate yourself: whenever you accomplish anything small related to your goal, give yourself a pat on the back.
4. Quarterly review: this is the most important step of any task if you want to sustain it in the long run. After a while we go back to our usual routine and at times we fail to remember our goals. In those cases, reviews help a lot. It shows us how much we have progressed.
Questions to raise –
a. Where am I now?
b. Where I wanted to be?
c. What is my next step?
I started with a simple book called “Two States” written by an Indian author Chetan Bhagat. It took me two weeks to read it. I felt like I’d truly accomplished something and I started reading books every month.
However in July, August & September my focus shifted to driving and so I was not able to read books in those 3 months.At that time reviewing helped me a lot. I set reminders on my mobile & on my mails on the last week of those three months. In case, I procrastinate, reviewing my status for that day, I allowed myself a few more days. So in October, I refocused on my goal and read the novel of Shiva – trilogy series written by Amish Tripathi.
In this way, I accomplished my goal. Now my New Year resolution is to start writing blogs and I feel writing this article is my first step towards it.

Corals, Fish & I

12 meter deep in the ocean, no people, no sound, no pollution… no boss and no work tensions…

ONLY… colorful corals and fishes, how would you feel?

Cool? Awesome? Fantastic? Wonderful?

I had the same feelings when I went scuba diving first time in my life.

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When we planned a trip to Andaman Islands, the first thought was in my mind to go for scuba diving because since my childhood, I have seen many underwater documentaries and scuba divers on the television and I wanted to experience it.

Finally the day had come. We reached at North Bay island at 10 o’clock in the morning. I ran at the scuba diving center excitedly. I enrolled myself and I was introduced to my instructor.

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First he gave me a wet suit & shoes. He tied a heavy weight belt around my waist. The mask was put on my face which covered my eyes & nose. I wore a buoyancy compensator. Buoyancy compensator is a life jacket and it was equipped with air tank, breathing regulator and pressure gauge. In this way I was completely ready with all necessary safety equipments needed for the scuba diving.

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Before we proceed for diving, my instructor taught me breathing technique. Initially it was difficult to inhale & exhale through mouth by using breathing apparatus. I practiced it in shallow water. Then he taught me 3 important signs which I had to use underwater for communication. The first sign was ‘thumbs up’  means I am not feeling comfortable and I want to go up, the second sign was ‘thumbs down’ means I want go deeper and the last sign was ‘Ok’ and it means I am feeling awesome & comfortable.

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And the real mission started…YES I dived for the first time. I was slowly entering into the new world. I was attentive and looking around curiously. The water was so clear. There was complete peace & silence.

I first came across Nemo’s reef. Nemo is a clown fish which made famous by the English movie ‘Finding Nemo’. I touched the reef. it was very sticky and soft. Suddenly I saw a small shark, it hovered next to my mask.

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I was constantly trying to look around in all the directions simultaneously to make sure that I wouldn’t miss anything.

we came across to the other side where there was Corral garden. Those were live corals, very colorful, beautiful, different shapes and attractive. Some corals were as huge as mountain.

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we went deeper and deeper. And I became the part of that world. Every moment I was exploring a completely new thing in my life. And suddenly my instructor signed me to go up.

I was saddened because I didn’t want to leave such a beautiful place. I wanted to explore it more. But every beginning has the end. I was going back to my world with the feelings of accomplishment.

I thanked to god for gifting me such a precious moment in my life.

My dear friends, sometimes a break from your routine is a very thing you need because not only it gives you happiness but also it gives a lifetime experience which you never dreamed of.

Have a wonderful life !

My dream came true!

Some of you may know about Ganesh festival. It is celebrated in India as well as outside of India.

It started in Pune. Many people visit Pune during this festival. Pune city is especially famous for procession. In the grand procession, there are lots of activities performed by different pathakas (teams) like Dhol- Tasha (musical instruments) team, Lezim (musical instrument) teams, dhwaj (Flag) team, Sword fighting teams, elephant procession, women & children dress in traditional attire and sit on horse during procession.

When I saw the procession for the first time in Pune, I was so surprised and excited. As I had never seen this kind of procession in my life. At that time a thought came in my mind that I should participate in it. But I did not know anything about it like who can participate in it, what is the procedure, are there any criteria? Fortunately I came to know one of my friends is a part of one team “Yuva Pathak” (Dhol-Tasha Team). I asked her lot of questions and she calmly said to me there are no any criteria.  You just go and join that team. I was very happy.

Practice started 2 months before the festival. On the first day, I went at the place of the practice. There were 3 teams performing so I was confused & enrolled my name in one team. After that I started searching my friend. But I couldn’t find her. I called her on mobile & told I enrolled my name in the team. She laughed & told me that you enrolled your name in different team. Then I cancelled my name from that team and registered in “Yuva Team”. It was the first day of practice so the old team performed as they performed in the procession. And new joiners like me were told to watch the performance. I observed that performance and realized that there participants were of all generations.

Yuva Pathak

On the 2nd day, new joiner started practicing. One girl helped me to tie that big drum (Dhol) to my waist and suddenly thought came in my mind.. OMG! how can I carry this heavy drum in the procession. But after that I concentrated on what the leaders were teaching. I was so confused. I didn’t understand when to beat the drum and when to stop. I was so tired. My waist, thighs and hand were swollen that night. I remembered even though I didn’t eat anything and I slept. That night was very painful for me.

Then every day we practiced a lot. Gradually we got tuned up with it. Now there was no confusion. Also we practiced how to walk in the procession with that big drum. We performed on 1st, 3rd, 5th & 7th day during festival. But the main attraction is last day procession.

On the last day, we gathered in one school and got ready. The whole team was prepared for the procession of one of the famous Ganpati in Pune (Tulshibaug Ganpati). It started at 1pm from Abhinav Chowk, Laxmi road. We tied our respected instruments. I was so excited. Roads were overcrowded. All were in enthusiastic mood. On our first beat, what a kind of response we got from public! OMG! So you know it created more energy within us and we performed it very happily. Crowd was cheering us, clicking our images and shooting videos. It was an outstanding experience in my life.

Procession

Procession

While playing drum, I was so involved into it. I forgot all my worries & tensions. I was enjoying each & every moment.

I learned lots of thing during those days. I realized that I have lots of physical strength. I am a good team player as well as I got confidence that if I dream something and chase my dream, I could make it happen.

Thanks to Yuva pathak for giving me such a nice opportunity.