Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Now We Should Fight For Accountability

Just consider the following events:
  1. Mark Papermaster, a 25 year veteran at IBM who had been the vice president of IBM's microprocessor technology development, was sacked from Apple as the Senior Vice President of Engineering for a design flaw in iPhone, the problem which Apple's CEO Steve Job referred to as Antennagate. He was just out for one design flaw that had some (??) impact on Apple's revenue.
  2. Carol Bartz, the gorgeous CEO of Yahoo was sacked over phone because she failed to revive the fallen glory of the company.
  3. Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple, was sacked from his own company by the investors in 1985, because they didn't share Steve's vision.
  4. And then there are the regular Employee Appraisal process, the Corrective Action Programs (CAP) and many other systems and processes at almost every professionally managed companies around the world where any who fails to perform properly is first warned and then kicked out.
The key to good performance of any organization is continuous tracking of the performance of every individual, whoever he or she may be, and get the under performers out of the system. It's survival for the fittest. It's veer bhogya vasundhara, the world is for the powerfuls, the intelligents. But when someone is asked to leave an organization it doesn't mean that he or she is useless. There may be other places where the same person can excel and thrive. But the key is kicking out people who fail to perform. This is applicable from the CEO to the lowest peon in an office. Everyone serves someone, my house maid serves me, I serve my company, my CEO serves the investors and the board of governors. Everyone is a servant, some private some public. And like I have the authority to ask my maid servant to not come from tomorrow if I'm not happy with her performance, I'm also vulnerable to be kicked out if I under perform.

But then why our public servants - the ministers, the corporators, all the government employees, etc are exempted of being kicked. They are our servants, very much like my maid servant. I pay them their salaries. And I should be the one assessing their performance, isn't it? But can I sack the engineer whose lack of planning has led to unprecedented delays in making a bridge. Can I sack the minister who has failed to do what he had promised before the election? At least the ministers have a five year window after which they can be dismissed by the people. But what about the equal thugs, the IPS, the IAS and the so many other servants in various departments? There's no debate on the topic that government employees enjoy some special immunity which make them lethargic and less efficient. They all know that they are not accountable to anyone and that their masters (I, you everyone) are impotent.

I feel the next biggest fight, after fighting against corruption, should be the fight for making the Public Servants accountable and 'kickable'. Their appraisals should be published publicly, because they are public servants, they too should be brought under the ambit of three sixty degree feedback where their masters, we, will be asked to assess their performances, and their hikes and promotions should be based on annual appraisals.