The modern workplace is heavily result oriented. You can be a good employee, meaning you are punctual, you work alright, you are engaged and friendly but you can still get fired if you don’t meet your targets. This applies even to higher management. So, if the higher management is under the sword and their bosses need to be answerable to someone then we see an entire corporate culture that is chasing after outcomes and goals. But who determines the targets, the goals? Higher management? Or the mid level management? Or the clients? Whoever determines the targets often is most often disconnected with the ground level employees. Often employees fall prey to the rather large ambitions of a company management.
The drawback of focusing on output is that it is limited to a fixed mindset. It focuses on only the productivity of an employee. How the employee has completed the task, what methods he has used, what skills are utilized are mostly overlooked. And what happens to under performers? Is firing them viable often in today’s work culture? What if the under performer has put in his/her all? What if he/she is just a great character to have in the team?
The crux of the matter is that a output oriented culture is bound to turn poisonous in the long run and ultimately fail. It creates a toxic culture of unhealthy competition, which makes every employee stand for himself/herself, it turns well intentioned individuals into selfish ones.
What if we shifted our assessment measures to evaluate effort rather than output? Not all employees have the same skill sets, the same calibre. A good performer may be actually underperforming based on his/her capacity.
If we begin to evaluate workers based on their efforts we remove the competitive element. Once this is removed employees stop trying to outcompete one another. Maybe with time they will start using their time to help each other out and to appreciate the “effort” that everyone’s putting in.
This “effort” evaluation model can begin as early as the schooling days. Reward students who’re putting in their best rather than the marks they’ve acquired. That way they’ll put an effort throughout the year rather than a few weeks before the exams.
We can take this concept forward in our lives too. We need to observe and appreciate the people who’re putting in an effort for us rather than focussing on how they’ve materially benefitted us. A father with less resources might have the capability to fulfil all the random desires of child but he may still have put in hours of work to provide as much as he could given the situation.
A wise man once said “If the effort is there, the results take care of themselves”.