On performance planning

For many I/NGOs the work year begins in July which sees a series of detailed programming at various levels based on the approved annual plan and budget. One such plan is the employee annual performance and evaluation plan, in itself a hefty task given that individual performances are now inextricably linked to the attainment of the organization’s annual objectives.

Under the banner of evidence-based results, the employee categorizes his/her tasks into KRAs and identify corresponding measurable performance standards. For example, a programme officer may have Grants and Counterpart Acquisition as a KRA and subsequently would identify the following as a target: provided technical support to 1 local partner/community group in the development of at least 1 project proposal worth at least USDxxx.  And so forth.

Performance planning is like actually writing down item by item what you’d want to be rated for acting on each of the Ten Commandments – who does that? – but find yourself stuck at the first and that would be, love God above all else, I mean how does one translate this to concrete everyday acts?  It’s the thinking, of how to get around this, that hurts. As such, many I/NGO employees put off the task as long as possible. I do mine the last minute.

On a lunch break the day before the due date, talk among colleagues segued into a lighter sort of performance, that of when couples’ desire for the sexual act doesn’t jive.  The gist is, one knows when men haven’t got what they wanted because they go around with foul moods. One said her husband threatened to break down the door if she refused to open it and give in. This elicited laughter from around the table. And then somebody said, but on one hand haven’t we all noticed that when women do and give them a good performance you could ask them the whole world and they’ll give it, without thinking if they actually could?  One followed this up with, domestic bliss is really about women giving in and putting on their best performances during the act and it’s a truth as old as time.  Me, I was wondering, what about men performing their best on women, there seems not enough talk on that but knowing that this will surely take up the rest of the day (our plans were due first thing the following day) I didn’t push it.

I guess what the group’s saying is if only performance and evaluation plans were about planning for a more pleasurable kind of performance the plans would’ve already been done yesterday.  Otherwise, behavioral economists would say a set of non-subjective incentives are in order. Maybe more pans of pizza.


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