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Focus-on-3-‘S’s-for-ace-performance!
Makarand Teje
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Are you a Smart Techie? How many of us ask ourselves this prodding question regularly? For all those who are looking out to evolve strategies to smartly balance performance against timeframes and ever increasing client expectations, I have something to share. I am sure this will be useful to all of us irrespective of the role, profession, and location that each of us is in at the moment.

Globalization has virtually redefined every function and every role is requiring a relook at the way the same are performed. As the job descriptions seem to be encompassing many tasks with no boundaries, the deadlines continue to shrink putting more pressure on the individuals to think beyond the obvious and manage virtually every situation. At any given point of time there is an unsaid demand to improve performance both individually and collectively. In such a situation, the following 3 ‘S’ are the ones on which we should focus on to help us improve our own performance, not only in the sphere of our work but also in the personal and spiritual spheres of our lives.

Service – It’s a myth that only the client-facing teams manage customers in any business. Service is a broader function than it is usually understood to be. Service encompasses various aspects of both internal and external customer related service. Therefore, alongside the external service, the level of internal customer service that we provide both within the organization and among the peer teams plays a pivotal role. Internal service actually drives the effectiveness of external customer service.

Speed – What matters today is not just the quality of service or the product but also the overall speed and the agility of the organization. This emanates from an ability to respond to the changing client expectations, flexibility to change the project plan as well as the capability to think quicker while standing on one’s own feet. To achieve speed, you can use the 80/20 rule, which states that 80 percent of the reward comes from 20 percent of your effort. The trick is to identify the 20 percent that really matters. Alternatively, you can explore the Time Jar model. Take an empty jar (time) and fill it up with rocks (top priority). Then add pebbles (things you enjoy doing) to it. Fill the remaining space with sand (things we ‘have’ to do) and finally add water (things that clutter up our lives and get in everywhere). This model is about balance, you make time for everything, and everything simply fits well where it is supposed to fit in, thereby increasing the efficiency and speed of the function.

Synchronization – In the age of Blackberries and PDAs, the feeling of being in ‘synch’ has attained a whole new dimension. While being in synch with the changing technology, there is a need for each one of us, individually and collectively as a team, to be in synch with the speed of the organization. From personal effectiveness perspective, it is better to look at our own daily tasks list and draw an action plan that clearly shows the tasks we directly manage and the ones that we plan to get managed by other team members. This will help us to be in synch with each other. At the same time, being in ‘synch’ across multiple time zones and languages gives us a feeling of being in control.

So, the next time when you are reflecting on the week gone by or pondering on your self performance or your team’s performance, ask yourself whether you are properly leveraging all the three ‘S’s.

The author is President & COO, AppLabs. He can be reached at Makarand.teje@applabs.com
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