16 June 2013

Appraisal - The horror Movie

Some thoughts on appraisal and events around it (most of these can be applied every day) and how to cope up with the depression/disappointment.
Goals & Results
If you don't have a goal, don't ever think of a meaningful discussion. A goal with a consistent result is very important before any discussion. Many people think that the goals can derived from their job profile but then the real ambiguity comes in when the discussion happens over the results. Avoid using % when you talk about your consistency. Bring out specific instances that made you happy and write about instances where you thought you are stretching your limits of thinking and ability. If you have taken any specific initiative, even if it is small but not usually expected at your level, talk about it and list down your learning. That is sure way of opening the discussion.

When you are writing your results, be sure to do self-introspection. What do you think about your result. Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve or do you think that there can be improvements in the way your are working. It conveys to people who review your performance to think that you are doing your bit and spending time with you will be more meaningful.

See the future
Seeing the future is not about when you will be promoted :-). Often we don't indulge to visualize the future. Sometimes, seeing through future gives us stress as the future may seem so uncertain. The uncertainty is more as you grow. As you grow, your growth really depends on how you embrace the events and the events are products of many people/events. If you handle it gracefully, probably the people watching it will be able to give your an honest feedback. If you try to handle it gracefully and if you cannot handle due to lack of knowledge or skill or exposure, the folks may mentor you. But if you don't want to handle gracefully or if you don't like to absorb the uncertainty (if you prefer to be in comfort zone), you don't deserve to grow. Seeing through the future and ready to absorb the uncertainty is an important trait. Talk about how you see your future and paint a picture of where you are going to see yourself by next year. Tell the appraiser what you will do when you are about to face failure and how you will mitigate it.

Grow - vertically and horizontally
We often have a fragmented view on growth. We always see growth to be vertical. But the growth can also be horizontal. Trying to do something which you have not done but little closer to your current job is the way to start. When you contribute horizontally, people appreciate it and often translate into a vertical growth. Ponder about your horizontal growth and ask questions on where you can contribute. The questions like these cannot be left unanswered by an appraiser.

Not understanding the environment
If you bring a value, first observe whether the folks are experiencing it. If they don't experience, the point is loud and clear. Your value is a hype or at very least you are trying to overemphasis your value. Since the workplace has so many folks, it is very important that you benchmark yourself with overall organization. Failure to do so leads to what i call suicide - underestimation. Underestimating the expectations and underestimating your peers is a very sick way of trying to increase your value. Another important red flag that i call as "slow death" is thinking that whatever we are doing is just fine to be in top league.  This is slow death because it leads slow degradation and mediocrity (becomes a habit). Reaching to the top or falling to the bottom cannot have overnight. When you are on the way to mediocrity, the first thing that you will do is failing to sense what is going on.

Lack of initiation and not interesting to know the real feedback
If you lack initiation on knowing about you, this by itself is sufficient for mediocrity. The initiation and natural interest on how you have been seen is an important thing. This often interrelated to above points. If you have goals and performed well, you will have something interesting to talk about. So, be sure to take initiative in understanding how others see you.

Fear of underrating leading to overrating of self
Don't fear that a honest self appraisal and self rating will lead to lower rating. A thorough review will give you the strategies about your near future and the final rating depends not only on how you perform but also on how others performed. An open mind will always willing to see who did well and possibly learn from her. Don't ever overrate yourself.

Talk about what organization needs
At some point of time in your discussion, be sure to talk about what organization needs. How do you see the organization and how it can be improved. Question the status quo. While nothing can be changed in single discussion, people will understand your achievements and your urge to improve the organization. People will also understand the obstacles and how you overcame that. It could be very well be a starting point of a change.

Your improvement is organization's value addition
And finally, it is very true to that your improvement is organization value addition. If you continue to be where you are, i believe it is point of suicide. Even a little baby step helps. So, don't think that appraisal is mere ritual. If it is done properly, it will fuel your growth and can completely redefine you.

Fielding the dejection/disappointment
This is very important characteristic. If you are not happy with the end results of appraisal, you may be depressed. At this stage, having a conversation with the guy who appraised you makes sense or you can reach out to human resources. Until your depression goes away, the best thing you can do is avoiding degradation of your attitude/work. If you allow degradation (particularly the attitude), it may even sound that whatever verdict that has been given is correct. The best thing is trying to make the next appraisal eventful (may be it will be hard to digest but then it has to be absorbed. Let us be practical). If you experiencing this depression consistently over the years, the time has come to become graceful (think of finding solace elsewhere, the world is too big and certainly you have a space in it).

A lot of these things can be acted upon through the year, so why you wait till appraisal and most of it in the hands of the appraiser :-)

For folks whose appraisal are due, best of luck :-)