Article: Don't make your Horse a Donkey!

Performance Management

Don't make your Horse a Donkey!

Efficient workers get great projects. Expectations also rise. Is it possible that by giving more work to the efficient ones, we are making a huge mistake?
Don't make your Horse a Donkey!

This can be a story of few of the Corporate Honchos reading this article. So read carefully and co-relate, if you can. 

The tale starts with a Boss called Mohan. Mohan has three sub-ordinates reporting to him directly – Akash, Biswas and Chivas- to be referred as A, B & C respectively henceforth. 

Mohan is a hard-working guy and is considered as a Talent in the organization. In order to get the work done, he is heavily dependent on his subordinates. The subordinates also understand their importance and perform their tasks. BUT, there is a twist in performing the tasks by each of them. 

Let us first understand few main characteristics of A, B & C one by one. 

For Mohan, A is a guy who performs Above Average. A is high on energy and is always ready to take newer challenges (As his name suggests, he is highly ambitious and wants to touch the SKY). Since A is also an attention seeker, Mohan realizes that A will perform any task which will keep him in limelight. So overall, A is like a Hanuman in Mohan’s team who will rescue him from any damn difficulty. 

B is an Average performer who will perform what is told to him. He will not go extra miles to get some extraordinary work done. He is considered as a performer by his peers and not an Initiator. B prefers following somebody than leading a team. (As his name suggests, Mohan has FAITH on Biswas but to some extent only!) 

Mohan believes C is a Below Average performer and does not perform his tasks effectively. He always needs continuous guidance and support for accomplishing any task. C is seen as a slow performer by his peers and colleagues. Coming back to Mohan’s story, after a substantial amount of time he realizes that in order to remain as a Talent in the organization he has to get C’s work done by somebody else because C is not efficient enough to perform his task. 

Mohan has two options – Either A or B. B will not be able to perform extra task because his nature is to remain in the limits always. Mohan rests with only one option – A. Since A has the tendency to take initiatives and perform extra task he would be more than happy to do the extra job of C assigned by Mohan. And it happened the same way! 

Gradually Mohan starts assigning A extra task which was not part of his KRA (people who are not aware – KRA == Key Result Areas) . Initially A used to go home at 8 PM. Now he leaves office at 10. He spends most of his time with work nowadays. A is enjoying his current role as he is expecting a Superb Rating at the end of the financial year during Final review. 

Incidence 1 - It is a fine sunny morning of 13th October, 2016. 

C comes to Mohan and asks – Sir, I would like to take 7 days Diwali leave. Can I? 

Mohan – Yes C. Sure sure. Please take 10 days leave and enjoy your holidays. C – Thank You Sir. 

You must be wondering why did Mohan give 3 days’ extra leave to C? The reason is Simple. Mohan does not find any value add in C’s presence and the more he is away the better it is for him. And the outcome is – Mohan and C both are happy. C because he got extra leaves and Mohan because he will not see C for next 10 days! 

Incidence 2 

It is a not so fine morning of 18th October, 2016. 

A comes to Mohan and asks- Sir, my friend is getting married on 27th October. I would like to take 6 days leave from 24th – 29th October. 

Mohan – No No A. How can you go? You are the most critical resource I have with me. If you go then entire work will be suffered. Please understand you are handling the most important portfolio of my team and without you the team’s performance will just go down. Sorry I can’t allow you to take leave.

A- OK sir. (But this OK was not OK! It was the beginning ) 

Post incidence, A realizes that in the team it is difficult to be rewarded in the positive way. As it is said – “The reward of Good work is More work”. Holds true for A perhaps. 

A feels that even after giving more than 100% he is not able to attend his best friend’s wedding and is held back just to perform tasks. On the contrary, C can enjoy his leaves even if he is a Below Average performer. All these incidences have left a strong negative mark on A’s mind and his behaviour has changed drastically. But, after all these he believed that at the end of the year Mohan will reward him for the good work and sacrifices he made. 

Finally April 2017 comes - The month for which most of the employees in an organization wait. It is the time for Annual Review and getting Performance linked Pay for the hard work and efforts put in the last year. 

Unfortunately, this year the organization has decided not to give Superb rating to anybody (where Superb considered as the Best rating and is given 3 points). So the ratings to be given will be – 

Good – 2 points 

Not so Good – 1 points 

Perform or Leave – 0 Points 

Mohan is in dilemma. He is a lenient Boss and would not like to make anybody unhappy. So he did what most of the lenient bosses do. He gave Good rating to all the three subordinates assuming the ratings will be kept confidential among themselves and in turn all three will be happy. But, it doesn’t happen the way we want always. 

One fine day, A comes to know the ratings of B and C over cup of coffee. He was shocked and shattered. A is flabbergasted of the fact even after so much of extra effort he is kept at par with B and C. He is not given the reward and applause he is supposed to receive. This led to a high level of dissatisfaction in A and exit of a Talent from the organization. Who loses finally? 

The organization.

What about B and C? Are they affected too? The answer is YES. B realizes that in this team more work will not be awarded and it is better to stick to current way of working only. He will not be motivated to give extra efforts and hence will remain as he is. C gets the lesson- In this team no work is rewarded by more leaves and eventually gets rating as good as an Above Average performer. He will just act like a leech in the team sucking the blood of organization’s resources & money to grow further. 

Lesson – What went terribly wrong in the entire scenario? Answer is Mohan’s judgement and wrong handling of team. Mohan realized the fact that A is the Horse of the team and in order to get best results he starts dumping the job on him. 

Gradually, A converts to a Donkey from a Horse. Mohan knows the fact that he can’t alter a donkey (In this case C) to a horse (In this case A) so he starts doing reverse. In the entire process he goes terribly wrong in rewarding the horse and compares him with donkeys and ponies in the team! This eventually will lead to a sad demise of a “Winning Team”. Amen! 

Always remember - “A horse in the Horse-Racing game will only be able to win if he is fed properly.” Coming back to the first line of my article.

Who do you relate to? A, B or C ?

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Topics: Performance Management

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