Whoever said fate is in our hands never had an appraisal. He never had the good fortune of knowing Head Slave either. It is almost a religious experience as the Maker’s hand randomly does and undoes your exploits of the past 12 months, 4 quarters and 3 seasons on a single A4 printout.
You stopped putting up a fight some five minutes ago. But HS seems especially spirited today. You don’t recall having ever had as much face time with him during your entire tenure.
The third time HS asks, you are moved out of your trance.
“What about this Kaizen project sport? I haven’t heard anything about it.”
Neither have you. In fact, the last you heard about it was in last year’s appraisal. You try desperately to remember what your answer was back then. It couldn’t have been anything convincing.
Since you are already two strikes down, you shoot out the following:
“You know boss, the Kaizen project was always on my radar. But looking at our priorities, I had to let it go. I knew it would mess up my KRAs, but it was the right thing to do for the company.”
A few moments of silence follows as HS looks at you with his glasses lowered. That was some inspired hooplah!
“Tell you what sport, we still have a week to go before closing the appraisals. Why don’t you do a quick pilot on Kaizen and we will discuss again?”
Now you look at him with your glasses lowered. This is not exactly a SlavesInc. moment but you decide to go for it for the novelty of it.
The next week is spent looking high and low for anything that can pass off as Kaizen and more importantly, for something that can be rounded up in one working week. You settle for an area you know most about: attendance rolls.
Login sessions reveal that an average Slave spends three to five percent of his official time on checking, plotting and in general obsessing over his attendance records. This is more than the time expected to be allotted to real work including ‘generating new ideas’.
Being a clone of the system yourself, you know that correcting the names of the slaves on payroll can cut down much of this time. It would also mean fewer loop holes for clock-watching colleagues. But you can’t please them all.
Project in bag, it is now time for another appraisal session with HS. For once he likes what he sees:
“Nicely done sport. We are through for this year. What was that line you said…’the right thing to do for the company?’ - Brilliant! I used it myself with the man upstairs. Kaizen was part of my KRAs too you know…”
HS walks out with a pat on your shoulder and a wink in his eye. He leaves you with a higher KRA score and fewer friends than you have ever had before. Whoever said we make our own destiny was never bound by KRAs.