Musing #3: Generating value from within. Taking notice and getting noticed.

One’s company, two’s crowd and anything more is a company of crowd. So how do you not become a face in the crowd? How do you appear as appealing as a luxury product exhibited at a shop window? I cannot profess to know the answer and hence what follows as a matter of opinion and not judgement, bequeathing itself from my limited world view and experience.

When starting out, one looks at opportunities that present themselves with resolve and innocence; innocence that can be leveraged for the greater good. Hope and assurances can drive ambitions but they can also be effective tools of manipulating an illusion. However, a professional exists to complete the tasks on hand, and to do them well.

So what does all the effort add up to? It culminates with the race to attain a higher number or a lower alphabet; both of which are good incentives at a personal level, but perhaps not a full proof gauge of talent and ability. It treats performance as a zero sum game with one's benefit coming at the expense of another. Nor can it be worn as a noticeable badge of pride when the time comes to exhibit yourself. Bands provide a modicum of monetary bliss (or woe), but it would be juvenile to not acknowledge that are influenced by factors other than work performance. It begets the need for a system that measures talent and ability as objectively as possible, which is seldom the case with human judgement.

Beyond this, the ability and talent can be reflected by the glowing recommendations from supervisors. But these are worthwhile only as far as the word goes; which in all but none cases extends to the person who is likely to notice, evaluate and select you. It must be a difficult job to make aspirations meet with opportunities but that does not imply fitting a square peg in a round hole. Resumes are spiked like a sportsperson’s dope to make it read like a sales pamphlet, under the aegis of “doing what everybody does”. Honesty and integrity are virtues that are emphasised up on but seldom reflect themselves on the document that matters the most. The candid ones are the most irrelevant and fall by the wayside even before an opportunity arises.

This is of course an allegory to my own predicament as I sit on the crossroads of uncertainty. It is a disheartening and abject situation. The process of change within the organisation to meet one’s aspirations seems to be an onerous one; an observation which is undoubtedly opinionated, but not entirely untrue in fact.

It is na├»ve to state a problem without pondering over a solution. However, it is as simple as knowing more about the employees by measuring better. To quote Lord Kelvin, “To measure is to know” and knowledge is power. The more you know about the potential, aspirations of an employee and see them meet challenges, the better it is for the organisation and the individual. Value for external customers can be generated when one starts with generating value for the internal customers.

Opinions change with time, remarkably so at the time of appraisals. Hence, there is a need to judge a person by ongoing actions, tasks, learning and with solutions, assistance afforded. The need is to constantly engage and measure the employee performance instead of leaving it to subjective judgements at the end of a time period. The devil is in the details and the need is to capture all the productive aspects of an associate and use that as an unbiased measurement of the performance.

The true value of a task is based on extent of utility to all stakeholders and not on how many points get ticked off a check-list. As the old adage goes, smart (quality) work needs to be acknowledged more than hard (clocking the hours) work. Active engagement and analysis is required now, more than ever, to dispel the essence of dispensability and devaluation that seems all too evident by an increasing employee count. Impactful changes of even the smallest magnitude shouldn’t be lost like a needle in a hay stack, but should instead be acknowledged and nurtured. The bottom of a pyramid matters as much as the top. Capture all the productive aspects of an employee to find value at every level and foster healthy competition within teams. Take notice and get noticed. Better resource visibility and value within the organisation may just be obtained by going BIG and gaming IT.
A professional introspection conducted a couple of years ago.