Archive for June, 2010

Corporate Leaderboards

June 27, 2010

Cross-posted on MIX site.

In Tennis, rankings are given to players based on their performance – check the ATP site for more details. This is updated continuously with a 1-year window. Why not apply the same for measuring your leaders within the Corporate?

Group Managers and Department Heads typically have the perception that they do better than their peers but are not rewarded/recognized in the same way as the others. While their bosses are clear in their appraisals, the Managers do not mostly agree. There is a perception that the appraisal executed is biased in some manner and there could have been a different thinking applied for the situations faced by the Managers while performing their tasks.

How do you get beyond such a scenario and come up with a system that is acceptable to everyone? Of course, any system will have its share of backers and critics but if one can be transparent with the ratings, the grief caused might be limited. One will also not feel the effects of the Forced Ranking due to the Bell-curve – the performance is available for everyone to view and analyze.

Leaders will be measured on a defined scale, that is set based on their standing in the organization, nature of work, seniority. Based on their year-end standings, their bosses can review their work and reassign the priorities. This will make appraisals easier and more transparent. The standings can be shared across the organization for all to view how progress is being made.

How? Create a ranking system which is simple and easy to implement / understand (in fact, I feel the ATP FAQ is a little complicated). Clearly, identify how many points to be given to Managers for their deeds by various categories. Ensure that all relevant areas / groups are covered in the scoring system. For e.g., Deals won in the range of $5 Million will result in winning 50 points while successfully delivering a project worth $ 10 Million will result in 75 points.

The points will be approved by the next-level Reporting Managers even though other Groups are also free to assign points for exceptional performance (with appropriate justification). The numbers can be worked out based on the organization but the concept remains the same.

With this suggestion, all the leaders will be aware in real-time how and where they stand and make appropriate changes to improve their standing in the Leaderboard.

This suggestion, if implemented in the right way, will lessen the ill-feelings that typically happen during appraisal time. The attitudes of Managers can be moulded to cater to these tangible measurements. Hence, their actions will correspondingly change resulting in a win-win situation for all. Moreover, the Managers need not wait for 6 months or 1 year to get feedback. They will be able to see how their standings change based on the points they receive.

The main challenge is to identify the scoring system. There needs to be an interactive discussion with key stakeholders to get the right system in place. Convincing the leaders on the motto behind the system is another challenge. They need to be assured that it will make their lives easy during the appraisal and this will also measure their success continuously. Getting the buy-in of the Managers is key for success.

An organization can do a dry-run for one single group for a period of 3 months and gather their inputs. Then, it can be expanded to the organization level.

What do you think about this concept? Do you think this will work? Why not?

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Newspapers and the Web

June 1, 2010
Reading Real Time News on iPad. Unread Newspap...
Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

There has been a lot of noise on the future of newspapers. Whether the web will make the paper redundant? How the newspapers are fighting back to stay in contention?

Let us take a step back and see what are the reasons why we need a newspaper? Various reasons abound why one used to look forward to the newspaper every morning. To read:

  • News – Politics, Business, Sports, Entertainment, etc.
  • Analysis
  • Opinions
  • Insightful articles
  • Crossword, Sudoku, etc.

Now, consider the first category – this is probably the most affected thanks to the countless web-sites available. The new tools like Twitter, Facebook make the news spread faster. Hence, this might be an area where the information when it appears in the daily paper most often becomes stale. Agree to a certain extent that the web will take over the place held by the newspaper in this aspect. But. This is where the latest Apple Gadget – iPad – comes to the rescue of the newspaper. With subscriptions, the newspaper can continue providing news to the viewer as and when it happens. Of course, the industry has to remodel themselves to this new invention so that they can still survive. The strongest still survives in the age of the web.

What then, of the other categories? You still need experts to do analysis of events – one might argue that blogs are available in surfeit. True, but how do you get the genuine ones? If they are experts in their field, would they be ready to share it on their blog? They would much rather write it on a syndicated column for a newspaper (who can afford the price). Similarly, opinions of people who matter come at a price which is again affordable by the newspaper giants only. As mentioned earlier, the newspapers have to remodel themselves to include the experts who write in digital ink as well as the traditionalists.

The other innovation that will very soon start happening is sponsored tweets – newspaper will start sponsoring twitterers to ask specific questions to analysts, celebrities so that their answers can be then incorporated into the article for completeness. Interviews will soon become a series of 140-character Q&A.

If the newspapers do incorporate these changes into their model, definitely they are here. If they still continue to focus on news, Page-3 pictures for their existence, they will definitely become extinct very soon.

What is your opinion on this? Do you think newspapers have other channels to survive the battle?

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