Introduction to Performance Management
SUBODH SINGH is 17 years old and is studying in McMillan High School. He is in the Xllth standard and will appear for the Board examinations in the science stream in March next year. He did well in his Xth Boards. He aims to join one of the leading engineering colleges and specialise in IT. Last year, the cut-off for admission to the top college was 89 per cent. Subodh decided to work hard and secure at least 95 per cent to ensure a seat in one of the prestigious colleges. He decided on the following strategy:
Focus on science and mathematics as they are scoring subjects. Solve as many previous Board examination papers as possible. Get a private tutor to help him improve in mathematics. Work hard. That should get me 95 per cent marks'
His dad, Surya Pratap, an HR director, asked him to draw up a more comprehensive strategy. He asked Subodh to convert the strategy into an action plan for the year. The first step would be to identify the key performance areas.
When Subodh asked his father what these key performance areas were, he explained:
'Key performance areas are those where you need to focus if you have to get your target result of 95 per cent marks in the Board exams. This will give some idea of the effort you need to put in to achieve the result. The result is not negotiable; without 90-95 per cent marks, you will not get admission into your dream college. You should simply ask yourself,'What should I do different to get 95 per cent? Or, what more should I do to get 95 per cent? Or, what new activities should I undertake? The answers to these questions will give you your key performance areas. They help you to plan and give a sense of direction to your work. They help you to remain focused all through the year. Now, decide what inputs you need to make to get 95 per cent in the examinations'
Subodh replied:'I should work hard, solve all the previous examination papers, attend classes, clarify doubts, and keep learning.'
'Excellent, said his father.'These are the key performance areas. Now list them one by one and see if it is exhaustive.
Subodh started listing them; on reflection, he added a few more. The final list read:
1. Attend classes regularly (I must attend classes as a lot of things are discussed and there are good teachers in my school. However, I can afford to skip the chemistry class as the teacher does not explain anything properly. As a result, I often get the feeling that I am wasting my time.)
2. Study hard at home.
3. Seek the help of a tutor to clarify doubts.
4. Solve question papers of the previous years.
5. Do reference work in the library.
Surya Pratap saw the list and said,'This is great. Now estimate how much of your time goes into each of these activities on a daily or a weekly basis and then set targets for each activity. Your targets should be such that if you fulfil them you will get closer to your goal of 95 per cent. There is no guarantee but it is an assumption based on your previous record as well as intuition'.
Subodh set targets in each of the areas with the following reasoning:
'I have to spend 8 hours a day for attending classes in school. I cannot avoid this as I need to have good attendance. Besides most of the teachers are good and they teach well. I learn a good deal in school and therefore it is important that I attend all the lectures and clarify my doubts. He set his KPAs and targets as follows:
KPA 1: Learning from the Class Teachers
Activities: Attending classes. Participating in all laboratory experiments, clarifying doubts with teachers, going prepared to classes, completing the home work given, meeting the teachers outside class in case of additional doubts and clarifications.
Targets: I will go prepared to every single class. I will read in advance all that I am required.
I will listen to all lectures attentively.
I will not miss a single...
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