“What have you done for me today?” A question most bosses (they think they are savants but most are just idiots) ask of their team especially the sales folks. A question that was asked to me on most days for the better part of my career as a techno-commercial consultant/domain expert/practice head/principal consultant/product head (All English, essentially means sales man) etc. with IT products and services companies across the world.
The obvious answer to the question of course is the achieved number, right? Now, you think you have done a great job just by achieving the number or beating it?? Hell NO! Welcome to the quarterly business review (QBR) or better known as the Crucifixion!
Boss (with a nasty smirk): So what have you done for me today?
Me: 115% achievement on target oh esteemed one! Forgive this lowly one for not having done more.
Boss: with an even wider grimace: 115%, 115%, 115%??? Get out of my sight! For 4 quarters in a row, you have not done 200%. Q4 of last fiscal, Q1 and 2 of this fiscal, you numbers are pathetic!! 105, 132, 115….When are you going to learn?
Me: Your exalted highness! Please do forgive this little man. I am really sorry I could not get you the $100 million dollar deals quarter after quarter! There really aren’t too many of them off late. I am sure you have noticed as well.
Boss: Really? Really? Really? Now you will teach me about markets and deals? You have some cheek you little shit! OK. Let’s look at the other key performance indicators (KPIs). Give me the margin, utilization, productivity per resource, ageing and I hope you got rid of the bulge (standard KPIs in IT services) you had the last review. Don’t want to see it again!
Me is Flummoxed!!! Bulge?? How the hell did he know I was thinking of Sunny Leone last quarter? Looks down quickly and adjusts his trouser. Almost as flaccid as it could be after a ice cold shower! Haven’t been able to get one since last quarter review! Even my hands have been complaining about the lack of it!
Boss: Well? Well? Well? Tell me you idiot! We don’t have all day. I have another 20 to review before I go to kiss bottoms and bosoms tomorrow at my review!
Me: Sir…Sir…the bulge has come down significantly. I promise I will never ever have another bulge in my life! Margins are at 28%, ageing is at a healthy 69 days.
Boss: Ok, Ok, Ok, what about resource utilization?
Me is suddenly reminded of his visit to Pushkar cattle fair when he was in graduate school. Ah! The fun! The good days with the ex! Never had to rely on Sunny Leone for a bulge. The ex had explained how camels and oxen are evaluated at the fair. Crude but effective, force open the mouth and count the number of teeth and shove your hand as far up the anus of the animal as possible to see if the shit tube had any blocks! These 2 tests were very effective. Ever since I joined IT services companies, I have felt that the only difference between what happens in the cattle fair and in the IT services companies is the more sophisticated way of using a resume to sell people. May be we should implement the cattle evaluation method when it comes to 360 degree review of Bosses!
Me: Very good Sir! 97.2% utilization.
Boss: What? What? What? You call that good? Good? Good? This is the bloody problem when you don’t get the bulge right, you shit head! I want 1000% utilization next quarter. Ok, what are your LQ and PR score?
Me: Sorry Sir, what? Not sure I understood.
Boss: God, God, God give me patience to suffer fools! Leadership Quality and Peer Review score you dick head!
Me: (on the verge of tears) I am not sure I have done that Sir. Nobody told me that I was to do it. HR never sent any such notification. I can assure you Sir there is not a single sales guy who has done it!
Boss: How dare you? How dare you? How dare you? You come in for a review unprepared, have atrocious numbers yet again and dare to tell me that you have not participated in an organization wide mandate? I am done with idiots like you! Get out of my sight! Be here at 9 pm. I will let you know what I intend to do with guys like you who not only does not perform but absolutely does not respect the organization.
Me: Sir, Sir, Sir….I have done everything possible. I have met and exceeded the numbers, improved on the parameters I fell behind in the last quarters and even ensured I did not bulge! Please don’t do this to me.
Boss: Joker, Joker, Joker! Now I have a fucking joker to take care of! What happened to LQ and PR? What happened to FS and TR? Wait outside till I call you! Get out now!!
Me: But Sir! I don’t know what FS and TR are either! Please help me.
Boss: Get out now!!!
Me is perplexed, not knowing what to do, he waits outside and see a beeline of colleagues go in and come out. Most come out flummoxed and ask him what is LQ, FS etc? He has no clue so does not offer any answer. Times passes by, lunch hour comes and goes, bio breaks are forgotten. At the edge of his seat on a rather uncomfortable chair, Me browses the whole company intranet to understand the abbreviations thrown at him and comes up a cropper!
10.30 pm, he sees Boss come back from his dinner to attend the late night VCon with the new CEO based in the US which is scheduled to start at 12 am sharp IST.
Boss: What the fuck are you doing here? I did not ask you to join for this VCon. This is only for the STARS!
Me: Sir, you asked me to wait till you come back.
Me: I did? Hmmm…why on earth would I do that?
The faithful lackey, STAR bottom massager of the quarter mutters something to Boss
Boss: Right, Right, Right…..so what is your LQ, PR and KMA ratings?
Me: LQ is 4.7/5 and PR is 4.9/5 Sir.
Boss: and KMA??? And KMA? And KMA?? Don’t waste my time, tell me your score!
Me: Sir, I really don’t know what it is. I asked every one and trawled the whole intranet, could not find any mention Sir! Please, I have done all I can to meet my defined KPIs Sir. Need the commission and incentives to pay for the EMI. Wife is also expecting Sir!
Boss: So? So? So? Did I tell you to knock her up? Why is any of that my problem?
Me: No Sir…But….But…
Boss: Exactly! Exactly! Exactly! You chase butts! That’s your problem. Butts! I told you to lay off her in Vegas during the sales conference, but no, you had to satisfy the bulge, you little shite! Now wait! I will show you! And anyway your KMA ratings are not in! I will take a call on you in 3 weeks! Wait!
Boss walks away!
Heartbroken me turns to lackey whose grin has only become wider for every insult thrown at by Boss.
Me: Arre Yarr, help! Even Jesus Christ was crucified only once in his life time and resurrected on the 3rd day. Why does this man crucify me every quarter and then waits for 3 weeks to resurrect me??
Lackey points to the latest HR poster which shows a smiling employee sitting in his cubicle with the heading; “In every cubicle sits a Leader!”
Oh! So, Me misunderstood the good man! He only wanted wanted to make Me a leader hence this Pontius Pilate act every quarter! Stupid Me!
But all things considered, Me is very tempted to add a line on the poster; “And in every cabin sits an Arsehole!”