タグ別アーカイブ: ワーク·ライフ·バランス

When the Going Gets Tough, Turn Around!

Elton John is right, sorry is the hardest word. It is hard to admit that one has been wrong. Harder still is to find a way forward, a way to correct one’s past mistakes. It often involves backtracking.

But when it comes to hard-headed business decisions, backtracking may often be the only thing to do. It makes sense to cut further losses when there is little point in throwing good money after bad. Such containment efforts are routine events in most establishments.

The biggest loss containment effort that I had a personal stake in happened in the US in the early nineties. I began noticing its worrying escalation in a hotel room in Washington DC. I was student delegate in the annual conference of the American Physical Society (APS). Despite the happy APS atmosphere (where many graduate students find their future placements) and the beautiful pre-cherry-blossom weather, I was a worried man because I had just seen a TV commercial that said, “Ten billion dollars for a particle accelerator??!! What the heck is it any way?”

The ten billion dollar project under attack was the so-called Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) in Texas, which was eventually shut down in 1993. The cancellation came in spite of a massive initial investment of about two billion dollars.

私には, this cancellation meant that more than two thousand bright and experienced physicists would be looking for jobs right around the time I entered the job market. This concern represented my personal stake in the project; but the human impact of this mammoth backtracking was much deeper. It precipitated a minor recession in the parts of Dallas to the south of the Trinity River.

Similar backtracking, though at a much smaller scale, may happen in your organization as well. Let’s say you decided to invest two million dollars in a software system to solve a particular business problem. Half a million dollars into the project, you realize that it was a wrong solution. What do you do?

It may look obvious that you should save the company a million and a half by stopping the project. This decision is exactly what the collective wisdom of the US Congress arrived at in 1993 regarding the SSC. But it is not that simple. Nothing in real life is that simple.

Corporate backtracking is a complex process. It has multiple, often interconnected, aspects that have to be managed with skill.

If you decide to backtrack, what does it say about your business acumen? Will it trigger a backlash from the top management accusing you of poor judgment? 言い換えると, will your name be so much in the mud that you would find it impossible to secure a job and support your family?

Let’s say it really wasn’t your fault and you had valid arguments to convince everybody of your innocence. Would that make it simple enough to pull the plug on the project? In all probability, it would not, because all big projects involve other people, for no man is an island. Stopping a project half-way through would probably mean sacking the whole project team.

This human cost is something we have to be aware of. It is not always about dollars and cents. If you are kind soul, you would have to move the team to some other (potentially unproductive) project, thereby eroding the savings that would’ve accrued from stopping the project. Wouldn’t it have been better to have continued with the original project, doomed though it was?

In most corporate cases, it will turn out to be wise to shutdown doomed projects. But don’t underestimate the costs involved. They are not always counted in monitory terms, but have human dimensions as well.

It is far wiser never to embark on dubious projects. When you must get involved in uncertain projects, review your exit options carefully. 例えば, would it be possible to reshape the project in a different but still salvageable direction?

And if and when you do have to shut them down, do it with decisiveness. Do it with skill. But most importantly, do it with decency and compassion.


従業員は、組織の見出し洞察を求めます. そして、彼らはすべき, 彼らの組織は彼らの幸福に直接影響を持っていない何のため. あなたの組織は、節約するために計画している場合 50% そのスタッフの, 例えば, あなたはより良いすぐに新しい仕事を探し始めるだろう.

あなたは情報のために松ときに誰を回すん? あなたの管理は、あなたがそれらに耳を傾ける必要があります. 従業員の視点から, これは賢い動きではないかもしれません. しかし、ないフレット, 代替があります.

街の地下があります. 企業のメモや通信会議の世界に平行, この噂市は情報を取引します, 多くの場合、必要​​に応じてそれを生成します.

従業員は噂工場に群がります, ない雇用主のためにそれらの固有の悪意のうち, しかし理由はよく設立し、相互不信の. 管理は慎重になる傾向があります (率直より、したがって、少ないです) その発表で, オーバー一方、 80% オフィスの噂で正確であることが判明, いくつかの研究が示しているように.

のは、仮定の状況を見てみましょう. 5年前と仮定, あなたの最高経営責任者(CEO)は、表彰台に取り、全くretrenchmentsはないだろうと宣言しました. あなたの多くは、それを信じているだろうか? ほぼ確実に彼らは代わりにブドウを聞いておけばよかったと信じていた人たち.

典型的な経営チームが苦しんでいる。この信頼性のギャップはオープンで率直なコミュニケーションかかわらず対処することができます. そこに摩擦があります. 彼らがしたいような管理は、いつものように率直にすることはできません. そして, 彼らは確かに従業員があることを、それらを望むほどの率直する余裕ができません.

不確実性の雰囲気の中で率直の欠如は、うわさを生みます. うわさ, 心理学で定義されています, 広範囲に影響を与える仮説があります. 経営者が戦略的な情報を社員に信頼を拒否したとき、彼らはたくさんあり​​ます. 信頼と情報の欠如は発展そのものを解釈する以外に選択の余地とそれらを残します. このような解釈では、オフィスの噂の起源をうそ.

噂は噂と混同してはなりません. うわさは推測に基づくものであり、将来のように提示されているが, 全社的な不測の事態, ゴシップは、アイドルや個人に向けられた悪意を持ってすることができます. ゴシップは、通常は事実として提示されています. 競争力の高い設定で, ゴシップは、疑うことを知らない被害者に取り返しのつかないダメージを与えることができます.

噂は信憑性の高いレベルとなり、一旦, トップ真鍮は話をするように強制されます. しかし、話は率直かつ深刻である必要があります. そして、それはタイムリーにする必要があり. 彼らはあまりにも長い間待っていれば, tête-ăƒ-têteで彼らの試みは、ダメージコントロールで微弱な試みのようになります. そして、話は単なるcliché秒の急流とレトリックである場合, それは潜在的に壊滅的な変更をごまかすための努力とさせていただきます. 実際には, このような弱い通信燃料それはquells以上のうわさ.

重要なジョブ関連情報は、通常、ブドウを流れ落ちることを考えます, 従業員が話をしようとしています. 任意の管理のための唯一の確実な戦略は、地下の噂を利用することです — クラシック “あなたは™トンベアタ€™全角カナ€場合, Joina€™で”Âパラダイム.

あなたは、トップ真鍮の一部である場合, ここで何ができるかであります. あなたはおそらくできる限り多くの的確な情報をタイムリーに循環させます. あなたは、正式なチャネルを通じて正式にそれを行うことができない場合, 非公式なものを試してみてください, そのようなランチやパントリーなど. こちらです, あなたの目的を果たすために噂工場を回すのではなく、それらは逆上を実行させることができます.

ブドウの力を過小評価しないでください, すべての社内コミュニケーションの努力が無駄に終わるといけません.


どのようにストレスを管理することができます, それが私たちの会社の存在に不可避であることを考えると? ストレスに対する一般的な戦術的な練習を含んで, ヨガ, 黙想, 呼吸法, 家族などが優先順位の変更. このリストに追加するには, 私はあなたと共有したい、ストレスと戦うために私自身の秘密の武器を持っている. これらの武器はあまりにも強力であり; そう注意してそれらを使用.

私の秘密の戦術の一つは、バランス感覚を開発することである, それが聞こえるかもしれ無害. 割合は、数字の面であることができます. それでは個体数を見てみましょう, 例えば. 毎朝, 私たちは仕事に来るとき, 私たちはフローティング顔の数千を参照してください。, ほぼすべてのそれらのそれぞれの仕事に行く. それらを見て時間を取る — 自分の個人的な考えや心配事で各, 悩みや応力が.

それらのそれぞれに, 唯一の本当のストレスは、自分で. 私達はことを知っていたら、, なぜ私たちは誰か他の人のより、それ以上に重要な私たち自身のストレスを開催する? すべて私たちの周りの個人のストレスの膨大な数の鑑賞, 私たちはそれについて考えるために停止した場合, 視点で私たちの悩みを置く.

私達のサイズの点で割合も熟考するためのものです. 私たちは、私たちの職場である大きな建物のほんの一部を占める. (統計的に言えば, このコラムの読者は、大きなコーナーオフィスを占有する可能性はありません!) 建物は私たちの最愛の都市であるスペースのほんの一部を占めている. すべての都市は、世界地図上のドットは、通常、そのサイズの誇張であるように、小さなです.

私たちの世界, 地球, ほこりの単なる斑点は数マイル火の玉からのものである, 私たちは、あらゆる考えられるサイズの火の玉のように太陽を考える場合には. 太陽とその太陽系はあなたがいた場合は、PC上の壁紙として私たちの銀河の写真を入れていることをとても小さなである, 彼らは数千地元の星とピクセルを共有することになる! そして、私たちの銀河 — 私はその上で開始されません! 私たちは、それらの無数の数十億を持っている. 私たちの存在 (すべての私たちの悩みやストレスに) ほとんど想像もつかないほど小さい.

私たちの存在の重要性が乏しいが、空間に限定されるものではなく、; それは同様に、時間にも及ぶ. それはバランス感覚に来るとき時間がトリッキーです. それでは宇宙として考えてみましょう 45 歳. どのくらい私たちの存在は、その規模にあると思いますか? 数秒!

私たちは星の塵から作成されている, 単なる宇宙論的瞬間のための最後の, した後、星の塵に引き返す. この間のDNAマシン, 私たちは未知の遺伝的アルゴリズムを実行する, 私たちは私たちの願望と業績のために間違えている, ストレスや欲求不満か. リラックス! 心配しないでください, 幸せになる!

確か, そのレポートは明日出ない場合は懲戒処分を得ることが. または, 支払いが引き続き遅れているとあなたの供給者は怒ること. または, あなたの同僚は、その陰で中傷する行為のメールを送ることができる (およびBcc上司) あなたはそれらを不快にした場合. しかし, あなたが表示されない, このことを念頭-numbinglyでかい宇宙で, それはイオタ問題ではない. 物事の大きなスキームで, あなたのストレスがあっても、静的なノイズはありません!

ストレスのすべてのレベルを維持するための引数が不十分な概念にかかって、そのストレスを助けるの生産性. それにはありません. 生産性の鍵は、職場での喜びの態度である. あなたは戒告とbackstabsと称賛を心配停止すると, あなたは何をすべきか楽しんで開始, 生産性はちょうど起こる. 私はそれは少し理想主義的​​な音を知っている, しかし仕事の私の最も生産的な作品は、そのように起こった. 私は何をすべきかを楽しむことは、私は任意の日のために撮影されます理想的です.

Knowledge Silos

We know a lot. バイ “私たちは,” I mean humanity as a whole. We know so much that it is impossible for any one of us to know more than a fraction of our total knowledge. This is why we specialize.

Specialization is good. It lets us cut deep into a specific field of endeavor; but at the expense of a broad overview of everything, 自然に. Specialization is expected of professionals. You wouldn’t be happy if you found out that your dentist is, 実際には, a well-known philosopher as well. Or that your child’s ENT surgeon secretly teaches astrophysics in the local university.

Isn’t there a danger lurking behind our habit of demanding super specialized silos of knowledge? One obvious danger is the loss of synergy and potential innovation. A case in pointa particle physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) faces the problem of accessing various files on different computers and networks. Being conversant in computing issues, the physicist devices a nice way of describing the file (または, as it is known now, the resource) and suddenly the first URL (Universal Resource Locator) is born. The rest is historywe have the World Wide Web, the Internet. Fifteen years later, you have e-commerce and YouTube!

If CERN had insisted that their physicists do only physics and leave their computing problems to the IT department, the Internet may not have materialized at all. または, it may have taken a lot longer to materialize.

The need for specialization is not limited to individuals. It permeates into the modern workplace in the form of a typical division of labor such as HR, ファイナンス, IT and Business. This division has worked well for ages. But every once in a while, the expertise in such silos becomes so split and scattered that the organization loses sight of its basic objective. People in the silos begin work against each other, competing for resources and recognition, rather than collaborating for common success.

The most common pariah in a typical organization is the IT department. These poor folks always get shouted at if anything at all goes wrong in the system. But when everything is working fine, nobody even notices them. In today’s age of ubiquitous computer literacy, why not assume a bit of system responsibility so that the turnaround time in PC troubleshooting (and consequently productivity) can be improved?

実際には, we know why. When it comes to computers, there is no limit to how bad things can get. As the IT proverb says, to err is human, but to completely foul up things requires a computer. End users may screw up the system so completely that even a competent IT department (a rare commodity) may find it impossible to restore normalcy. しかし, in order to fight this self-destructive (though well-intentioned) tendency, IT departments have gone to the other extreme of making it so bureaucratic and practically impossible to get their help in anything at all!

Another group that gets a bad rap in a highly regulated organization is the auditors. Their thankless job is to look over everybody’s shoulder and make sure that they are following the rules of the game (というより, complying with policies and regulations). Auditorsnoble intentions get eclipsed by one fatal flaw: they seem to measure their success by how many violations they can find. Instead of working hand in hand with those being audited, the auditors come across as though they are conspiring against the rest.

There is productivity to be gained by blurring the edges of rigid silos in organizations. When silos talk to each other, teamwork happens and those in the silos realize that they all work toward a common goal.


Major changes are afoot. They have been afoot for the last twenty years. I’m talking about how we learn things, how we read, how we do basic arithmetic and so on.

In high school, I used logarithm tables to work out results in physics and chemistry experiments. Calculators were not allowed. Though inconvenient, this practice honed my arithmetic skillsskills that calculators and spreadsheets have eroded by now.

Similar erosion is taking place in our reading skills as well. We don’t read to retain information or knowledge any more. We search, scan, locate keywords, browse and bookmark. The Internet is doing to our reading habits what the calculator did to our arithmetic abilities.

Easy access to information is transforming our notion of (dare I say, respect for?) knowledge in a fundamental way. In a knowledge economy, knowledge is fast becoming a cheap commodity. We don’t need to know stuff any more; we just need to know how to find it.

I was talking to a lecturer the other day. According to him, a good lecturer is not the one who knows most and has a deep understanding of the subject, but the one that can locate the answer the fastest.

The power of instant information came with the Internet, which made experts of all of us. We can now make intelligent comments and informed decisions on anything.

Suppose, 例えば, your child’s doctor recommends the proceduremyringotomy,” quite possibly something you have never heard of before. But you can Google it, read (ソーリー, browse) the first couple of search results, and you will know the rationale behind the doctor’s advice, the exact procedure, its risk factors and benefits, 等々. In ten minutes, you will know what took the doctor years of hard work to learn.

This easy access to knowledge may, quite mistakenly, diminish your respect for the medical degree. This diminished reverence for knowledge is unwise; a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. A doctor’s expertise is not so much in memorizing a webpage worth of information, but also in knowing all the special circumstances where that information doesn’t apply. ほかに, the webpage you happened to read may be just plain wrong. We should be careful not to mistake easy information for deep knowledge. Let’s guard our respect for true knowledge and wisdom despite our access to ready information.

Such misguided lack of respect is evident in the workplace as well, where managers think they can always hire specialized knowledge at will. I had a friend who was planning to roll out a product using Bluetooth, back when it was an emerging technology. I pointed out the obvious flaw in his proposalhe didn’t know much about Bluetooth. His reply was, “No big deal! I’ll just hire somebody who does!”

My worry is, when everybody wants to hire a Bluetooth expert and nobody wants to know how it works, there won’t be an expert any longer.

Knowledge is not cheap, although our easy access to it through the Internet may indicate otherwise. When we all become users of information, our knowledge will stop at its current level, because nobody will be creating it any more.

We are not there yet, but I worry that we are heading that way. I worry about the support structure of our knowledge base. How will our knowledge empire stand when all its foundations are gone?

ヨブと結婚 — 死を分かつまで?

死は人生の事実であるようにストレスは限り企業のキャリアの一部である. まだ, それは、2つを維持することが最善です (職業と死) 独立した. This is the message that was lost on some hardworking young souls here who literally worked themselves to death. だから、日本人の多くを行う, 私たちは、メディアを信じるのであれば.

座りがちなジョブの死亡の理由は、深部静脈血栓症と呼ばれる陰湿な条件である. この条件が原因座っ費やし時間延長の開発、, 時下肢の血栓形. 凝血塊はその後、上体に重要な臓器に移動, それは死を含む大混乱を天下場所.

そのような早死にを回避するトリック, もちろん, 長い間座っていません. しかし、それは言うほど簡単である, 時ジョブ圧力マウント, と期限を織機.

あなたがまっすぐにあなたの優先順位を取得する必要がありますはここです. あなたはより多くを大切に何をすべきか? 生活や企業の成功の品質? この選択に意味は、両方を持つことができないということです, ように書き投資銀行業務での冗談に示すように、: “あなたは土曜日に来ることができない場合, 日曜日に来る気にしないでください!”

あなたができる, しかしながら, 妥協する. これは、キャリア願望を少し行くと途方もなく生活の質を向上させることが可能である. このバランスをとる行為は、しかしそれほど単純ではありません; 生活の中では何もありません.

ワーク·ライフ·バランスを損なういくつかの要因がある. 一つは、私たちが住んでいる唯物文化です. それは、その傾向を戦うのは難しいです. 第二には、あなたができる見当違いという概念である “成功する” 最初の, その後後ろに座ると、人生を楽しむ. あなたは世俗的な心配から解放され、その時点ではめったに具体化しない. 第3に, あなたはキャリア志向のパートナーを持つこと. あなたはバランスの取れたアプローチを取る準備ができている場合でも、, あなたのパートナーはないかもしれない, これにより、実際にそれを置くことの価値を減少させる.

これらはあなたが常に反対の戦いに持っている要因である. そして、あなたは戦いに勝つことができます, ロジックを持つ, 規律と決意. しかしながら, 第四はあり, ずっと不吉, 要因, これは、成功したキャリアは全か無かの命題がある神話である, 先行投資銀行冗談で暗示として. それは神話である (おそらく故意ボスによって伝播) それはダモクレスの剣のような当社の企業の頭の上にハングアップする.

このため、神話の, 人は遅く働いてしまう, 印象を作るしようとしている. しかし、印象が作られる, しない仕事の量だけ, しかし、その品質によって、. 質のターン, インパクトの強い作品, あなたが報われる, 関係なく、どのくらいのそれを達成するの​​にかかる. 長時間, 私の見解で, 質の高い仕事をリモートの可能性を作る.

このような憂鬱長い時間は、最高の仕事中毒に委ねられている; 彼らはそれを助けることができないので、彼らは働き続ける. それはそんなにキャリアの吸引ではありません, しかし習慣の力が社会生活の恐怖と相まって.

今日の犬におけるワーク·ライフ·バランスを取る犬の世界を食べる, あなたはことわざの企業のはしごを数上限ラングを犠牲にする必要があります. 結果に関係なくして、企業のマシンに対してレイジングは、最終的に1簡単に実現に要約 — あなたの人生は過程で失われた場合生計を作ることは何にも達すること.

配偶者無関心 — 私たちは気にしないでください?

仕事で長い一日の後, あなたの疲れの心を休ましたい; あなたはあなたの小さな勝利について少しほくそ笑むしたいかもしれ, またはその日のあなたの小さな挫折について少し泣き言. この精神的なカタルシスのための理想的な犠牲者はあなたの配偶者である. しかし、配偶者, 今日の共働き世帯における, また、一日の終わりに疲れた心に苦しんでいる.

2疲れた心間の会話は通常、必須成分を欠いている — リスナー. そして、リスナーのない会話はまったく会話の多くはありません. それは単にについて泣き言ためのもう一つの挫折を生成することになります2モノローグです — 配偶者の無関心.

無関心は一蹴するに決して小さな問題で. それは愛の反対です, 私たちはエリーウィーゼルを信じるのであれば. 私たちは幸せでショットを持っているしたいのであれば私たちは無関心を防ぐためにありますか, 愛のない人生のためにあまり満足して1ではない.

“どこの時間を持って?” ask we Singaporeans, 完全な文を形成するのに忙しすぎ. ああ… 時間! すべての私たちの世俗的な心配事の中心に. 私たちは持っている 24 明日の前日においてその時間における帯電来る, obliterating all our noble intentions of the day. また、別のサイクルが始まります, 大きな車輪の別の容赦ない革命, およびラットレースは続く.

ラットレースとのトラブルは、ということです, それの最後に, あなたが勝つ場合でも、, あなたはまだラットである!

私たちはこの悪循環を破るにはどうすればよい? 私たちは聞いてではなく、話すことによって開始することができます. リスニングは、それが思ったほど簡単ではありません. 私たちは通常オンになって精神的なフィルタの全体の束を聞く, 常に私たちが聞くすべてを判断して処理. 私たちは、重要であると、着信文にラベルを, 便利な, ささいな, 哀れな, など. そして、私たちは私たちの疲れた脳内の適切な重みでそれらを離れて保存する, 1重要な事実を無視して — スピーカーのラベルがあり得ること, そしてしばしば, 全く違う.

この潜在的な偽装のために, あなたの配偶者やパートナーのための一日の中で最も重要な勝利や心痛とすることができるものを誤ってドラッグして、あなたの心のごみ箱に落とし込んれるかもしれ. この意図的でない残酷さを避ける; あなたのフィルタをオフにして、あなたの心に耳を傾ける. As Wesley Snipes advises Woody Herrelson in White Men Can’t Jump, 彼女に耳を傾ける (または彼を, 場合によっては。)

このような公平かつ無条件リスニングスタイルを実践するために支払う. これは、それらのあなたの配偶者とあなたの優先順位を調和し、配偶者の無関心の深淵からあなたを離れて引っ張る. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. It takes years of practice to develop the proper listening technique, と継続的な忍耐と慎重な努力がそれを適用する.

“どこの時間を持って?” we may ask. よく, €™sのメイク時間いきましょ, または私たちが得たものは少し時間を最大限に活用. そうでなければ, 日が月および年まで追加するとき, 私達は背中と不思議に見えるかもしれ, where is the life that we lost in living?


Singapore needs foreign talent. This need is nothing to feel bad about. It is a statistical fact of life. For every top Singaporean in any fieldbe it science, medicine, ファイナンス, sports or whateverwe will find about 500 professionals of equal caliber in China and India. Not because we are 500 times less talented, just that they have 500 times more people.

Coupled with overwhelming statistical supremacy, certain countries have special superiority in their chosen or accidental specializations. We expect to find more hardware experts in China, more software gurus in India, more badminton players in Indonesia, more entrepreneurial spirit and managerial expertise in the west.

We need such experts, so we hire them. But how much should we pay them? That’s where economics comes in — demand and supply. We offer the lowest possible package that the talent would bite.

I was on an expatriate package when I came to Singapore as a foreign talent. It was a fairly generous package, but cleverly worded so that if I became alocal” 才能, I would lose out quite a bit. I did become local a few years later, and my compensation diminished as a consequence. My talent did not change, just the label fromforeign” へ “local.

This experience made me think a bit about the value of talent and the value of labels. These values translate to compensation packages that can be ordered, from high to low, ように: Western (Caucasians), Western (of Asian origin), シンガポール人, Asian (Chinese, Indian, その他).

I’m not saying that all Caucasians in Singapore do better than all Indians and Chinese in terms of income; but the trend is that for the same talent, Caucasians tend to be better compensated that their Asian counterparts. Nothing wrong with thatit’s all about demand and supply, and the perception of value and such economic fundamentals. ほかに, this compensation scheme has worked well for us so far.

しかしながら, the locals are beginning to take note of this asymmetric compensation structure. When I was considering hiring a Caucasian, my ex-boss commented, “These Ang-Mos, they talk big in meetings and stuff, but don’t do any work!” He may have oversimplified; I know manyAng-Moswho are extremely talented and fully deserve the higher-than-local compensation they enjoy. But this perceived disparity between what the talent is worth and how much it costs (as depicted in the movie I Not Stupid) is beginning to hurt employee loyalty to such an extent that firms are experiencing staff retention issues when it comes to local talents.

The solution to this problem is not a stricter enforcement of the confidentiality of salaries, but a more transparent compensation scheme free of anomalies that can be misconstrued as unfair practices. そうでなければ, we may see an increasing number of Asian nationals using Singapore as a stepping stone to greener pastures. もっと悪い, we may see locals seeking level playing fields elsewhere.

Let’s hire the much needed talent whatever it costs; but let’s not mistake labels for talent.

Performance Appraisal — Who Needs It?

We go through this ordeal every year when our bosses appraise our performance. Our career progression, bonus and salary depend on it. So we spend sleepless nights agonizing over it.

In addition to the appraisal, we also get our “key performance indicators” or KPIs for next year. These are the commandments we have to live by for the rest of the year. The whole experience of it is so unpleasant that we say to ourselves that life as an employee sucks.

The bosses fare hardly better though. They have to worry about their own appraisals by bigger bosses. On top of that, they have to craft the KPI commandments for us as well — a job pretty darned difficult to delegate. 十中八九, they say to themselves that their life as a boss sucks!

Given that nobody is thrilled about the performance appraisal exercise, why do we do it? Who needs it?

The objective behind performance appraisal is noble. It strives to reward good performance and punish poor shows — the old carrot and stick management paradigm. This objective is easily met in a small organization without the need for a formal appraisal process. Small business owners know who to keep and who to sack. But in a big corporate body with thousands of employees, how do you design a fair and consistent compensation scheme?

The solution, もちろん, is to pay a tidy sum to consultants who design appraisal forms and define a uniform process — too uniform, たぶん. Such verbose forms and inflexible processes come with inherent problems. One problem is that the focus shifts from the original objective (carrot and stick) to fairness and consistency (one-size-fits-all). 断っておく, most bosses know who to reward and who to admonish. But the HR department wants the bosses to follow a uniform process, thereby increasing everybody’s workload.

Another, more insidious problem with this consultancy driven approach is that it is necessarily geared towards mediocrity. When you design an appraisal process to cater to everybody, the best you can hope to achieve is to improve the average performance level by a bit. Following such a process, the CERN scientist who invented the World Wide Web would have fared badly, for he did not concentrate on his KPIs and wasted all his time thinking about file transfers!

CERN is a place that consistently produces Nobel laureates. (I once found myself with two Nobel laureates in a CERN elevator!) How does it do it? Certainly not by following processes that are designed to make incremental improvements at the average level. The trick is to be a center for excellence which attracts geniuses.

もちろん, it is not fair to compare an average organization with CERN. But we have to realize that the verbose forms, which focus on averages and promote mediocrity, are a poor tool for innovation management.

A viable alternative to standardized and regimented appraisal processes is to align employee objectives with those of the organization and leave performance and reward management to bosses. With some luck, this approach may retain fringe geniuses and promote innovation. せめて, it will alleviate some employee anxiety and sleepless nights.

Handling Goodbyes

Hold on to your pants, your key staff has just tendered his resignation — your worst nightmare as a manager! Once the dust settles and the panic subsides, you begin to ask yourself, what next?

Staff retention is a major problem in the current job market in Singapore. Our economy is doing well; our job market is red hot. 結果として, new job offers are becoming increasingly more irresistible. At some stage, someone you work closely with — be it your staff, your boss or a fellow team member — is going to hand in that dreaded letter to HR. Handling resignations with tact and grace is no longer merely a desirable quality, but an essential corporate skill today.

We do have some general strategies to deal with resignations. The first step is to assess the motivation behind the career choice. Is it money? もしそうなら, a counter offer is usually successful. Counter offers (both making them and taking them) are considered ineffective and in poor taste. 少なくとも, executive search firms insist that they are. しかし、その後、, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

If the motivation behind the resignation is the nature of the current or future job and its challenges, a lateral movement or reassignment (possibly combined with a counter offer) can be effective. If everything fails, then it is time to say goodbye — amicably.

It is vitally important to maintain this amicability — a fact often lost on bosses and HR departments. Understandably so because, by the time the counter offer negotiations fail, there is enough rancor on both sides to sour the relationship. Brush those wounded feelings aside and smile through your pain, for your paths may cross again. You may rehire the same person. または, you may end up working with him/her on the other side. Salvage whatever little you can for the sake of positive networking.

The level of amicability depends on corporate culture. Some organizations are so cordial with deserting employees that they almost encourage desertion. Others treat the traitors as the army used to — with the help of a firing squad.

Both these extremes come with their associated perils. If you are too cordial, your employees may treat your organization as a stepping stone, concentrating on acquiring only transferable skills. On the other extreme, if you develop a reputation for severe exit barriers in an attempt to discourage potential traitors, you may also find it hard to recruit top talent.

The right approach lies somewhere in between, like most good things in life. It is a cultural choice that an organization has to make. But regardless of where the balance is found, resignation is here to stay, and people will change jobs. 変更, as the much overused cliche puts it, is the only constant.