Bell curve, does that ring a bell? Well, I’m sure it most likely will if you have been through a performance appraisal. The Bell curve is supposedly a scientific methodology employed by organisations to determine performance ratings of all employees. This is done so as to match budgets available for increments and bonuses (that was my personal definition). While that sounds rational, here’s my attempt to “bell the cat”, no pun intended. One’s honest performance and effort seemingly doesn’t get rewarded due to perception issues or biases that exist in the mind of a supervisor and is then blamed on the Bell curve. This results in attrition, disengaged employees and low morale of folks who are “victims” of the dreaded Bell curve. So what is the response of a believer in Christ? Do I choose to sulk or do I choose to soar above the seemingly grave injustice meted out to me? Hey! By no means am I trying to minimise the hurt. Trust me, I’ve been there and know what it feels like. Clearly the response is to soar above the disappointment.
You are possibly thinking at this exact moment that this is a great theory but not practical advice. Let me tell you how to covert the theory into a practical reality. It is about a small yet significant shift in your mind, it’s about re-visioning your work and it’s about answering a question which is as follows “If God were to do my appraisal?” Think about that question for a minute, allow it to sink in. Will this question change the way you think and more importantly will it actually work despite unfavourable conditions or situations at the workplace? Of course it will. Here is my take on what needs to change if God actually did my appraisal
1) I would be more concerned about my private life than my public persona
By private life I mean character. Character supersedes reputation. When my character pleases God it results in credibility and credibility opens doors to greater responsibility. Stop trying to gain the acceptance of others. Frankly they themselves are to caught up trying to please others too and have no extra time for you.
2) I will strive to excel rather than just exist
I’m confident that God hasn’t created us for mediocrity. He has wired us for excellence, built us to achieve brilliance and set us up to pursue greatness. He has deposited within us the power to rise up every time we hit an obstacle or a road block and that power is called perseverance. Use your talents don’t bury them. I believe God is excited when we are driven by excellence.
3) I will choose to be honest at a thought level and careful with my intent
In God’s appraisal there is a high weightage for honesty and integrity. With man we can get away by “looking to be” honest but God sees us inside out. He weighs our thoughts and comprehends our motives. He expects honesty at a thought level which will translate into honest actions. Confession, The presence of policeman at a traffic signal is huge determinant for me to obey the signal or not (working on it guys, will reform soon) but honesty at a thought level will ensure I obey the signals irrespective of the presence of a policeman or not.
4) I will make the best of every opportunity instead of making excuses
Can’t do both, either make the best of every opportunity that comes by or make excuses.The return investment on both is pretty apparent. On excuses it’s poor credibility and closed doors while the return on utilising opportunities is promotion and higher responsibility. Prepare for the opportunity before it come by, recognise the opportunity and remember opportunities often come dressed as problems
5) I will be part of the solution rather than the problem
It doesn’t take a genius to identify a problem but it takes a person of diligence to come up with possible solutions. Joseph rose overnight from the status of a prisoner to a prime minister just by demonstrating the power of being a solution provider. Be a Jeremiah 33:3 person.
6) I will be confident that my work will be rewarded
The Bell curve may have temporarily halted the reward that was due but if God appraises me I am confident that I will definitely receive my just reward. It could be delayed but it will not be denied. “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7)
Maybe you’re saying this sound great “If God actually did my appraisal” but the fact is that I’m held captive by the monster called the Bell curve and held hostage by a supervisor who I wouldn’t actually refer to as wonderful. I’ve got news for you my friend. The truth is, God actually does appraise and reward us accordingly. How do I know it, well the Bible tell me so?
Obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do. (Ephesians 6:5)
So in closing, when we choose to work with the knowledge that God sees and takes note of how you and me work as well as the quality of our work we can be sure that we will receive our reward from God. It may take time but we certainly will and no weapon in this case a Bell Curve can prevent our rewards and recognition.