Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Performance Management - For An Appraisee

In any performance review discussion with my sub-ordinates, I ask these two questions     
   1. What do you think how you are doing? The answer is definite and mostly it is good/excellent.
   2. What do you think, what your manager thinks of how you are doing? In most cases I get a blank look.

It is of then no surprise that many of us feel disappointed after the review. We discover(or rather construct) a set of reasons (inept manager, politics, favoritism, unable to show-off etc.)  for our dismal ranking. While I don't deny the existence of any or all of these reasons, their contribution for a dismal ranking is arguable.

During our transition from education to professional life, we often don't realize two important changes
    #1. In student life, you study more, you score better..simple! In professional life, in addition to what you have done, it is also important how your performance is perceived by your superiors, peers, organization.
    #2. In professional life, how good/bad you are is less important. More important is where you stand against your peers. Therefore your self judgement should always take into consideration these wider aspects as well.

Someone once told me, that the best performance appraisal is the one where there is mutual agreement both ways & the discussion is short & crisp. The reason being, if both the appraisee & appraiser were always in sync, frequently discussed the positives, the improvement needs, the discussion becomes just a mere formality. There is hardly any surprise. And that's exactly it should be. Performance review is not a 30-60 minutes discussion, it is a continuous process throughout the year & therefore requires thoughtful planning, execution & follow-up.

At the beginning of the year, we should plan how much effort we are ready to put in that year & what we want to achieve. Depending on personal life, health or because of any alternate priorities(planning for higher studies, preparing for a job in a better organization) we might not want to stretch every year. That is perfectly fine, only it should be communicated & mutually agreed to your supervisor & you should also be ready to accept a proper rating according to your contribution. The comes the follow-up, which most of us miss. Nothing stops us to touch base with your supervisor once in 2/3 months, or just casually asking how you are doing. This gives you chance to introspect & improve (if required) in stead of hearing the same feedback at the year end, when you can't do anything. And then the continuous evolution, act on the feedback.

I should also admit that in spite of you doing everything right, you could still get a bad rating. There could be reasons beyond your control & that I am intentionally keeping outside the scope here. But if a systematic approach is followed, there are more probability of being rightly recognized.

Please note that, due to self imposed limit on the article length, I am only discussing an appraiser's point of view. The appraiser's aspect will be discussed in the next post.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Food Review: Meridian Cafe Punjagutta (Hyderabad)

I have been hearing very good reviews about their Biryani of late in foodie group & thought of giving it a try. Located on the main road on your left when you are approaching Punjagutta from Ameerpet side just beneath the flyover. I went for parcel though there are provisions for dine-in, too though from the looking of the place, I am not sure how good the dine-in ambiance is. I ordered Special Mutton Biryani & Apollo fish based on recommendation from one of my foodie friend.
I was overly delighted with the Mutton Biryani. To me, this will sit among the top 5 Biryani of Hyderabad. A bit more flavor than the traditional Hyderabadi Biryani, with larger mutton pieces, one plate of special mutton Biryani was sufficient for 2 adults + 1 kid. The Apollo fish was also mouth watering. Perfectly spicy, one of the best fish starter I ever had. 

Apollo Fish

Special Mutton Biryani
A definite VFM & it deserved few more visits to try some of their other specialties.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Food Review: Spice 6 (Hyderabad)

This is the 1st time I am rating a place with 4.5/5 & they fully deserve every bit of it. I went there on a Sunday afternoon as part of a foodie group. It was a set menu with prices fixed at 450/- AI. The Arabian/Middle-East cuisine always excite me and when I saw this place is claiming to serve Lebanese food, I just grabbed the opportunity. We had to choose between a pre-defined Veg or Non-Veg menu & I had opted for Non-Veg menu. The summary:
Arab Champagne: This was a non-alcoholic drink, containing slices of fresh fruits, the mint leaves & a lemonade based drink. The overall flavor made it a very unique experience, neither the aroma of fresh fruits in a drink were disturbing, nor it was overly sweet or salty. This kind of set the tune for what's coming next.

Arabian Champagne
Hummus with Pita Bread: As expected with Arabian cuisine, it was rich with olive oil, olives were also used for decoration. It had a perfect texture and taste.
Tomato Chutney for Kabsa, Garlic Sauce, Hummus
Fattoush: This was the 1st time I tasted this & I liked it for sure. As I had a late breakfast, was kind of feeling heavy in stomach. But as soon as I had it, felt all my hunger is back. It was not easy to maintain the balance of the overall flavor still keeping the hint of tanginess intact & it was just perfect.
Grilled Mutton Kebab & Chicken Kebab: The Chicken Kebab was tasty for sure, nothing specifically different. The Grilled Mutton Kebab tasted quite similar to Patthar Ke Ghost. It was tender, evenly grilled. Only complain is in the 2nd serving, it tastes quite dry. Not sure if the time pressure to serve large gathering was the reason.
Grilled Mutton Kebab & Chicken Kebab
Chicken Shawerma: It was another surprise. The Chicken pieces was very tender, the mixture of right amount of mayonnaise sauce with vegetables made it very juicy.
Chicken Shawerma
Kabsa Laham: The show stopper of the day. I have never tasted so tenderly mutton that it just gets out of the bone automatically, you hardly need to struggle with it. And the rice being prepared with right flavor, I heard everyone praising heavily for this dish. For the mutton/Kabsa Laham lovers this is a must try.
Kabsa Laham
Umme Ali: Perfectly made, nothing to complain.
Kunafa: It was pastry kind of with sweet filling inside and fried vermicelli on the crust. The color was perfect, taste wise also it was sweet. Not sure how it originally tastes, but was finding it difficult to have it more than one for the sweet level. Will leave it to restaurant people to think if any variation can be brought to this.
Sitaphal Rabri: Had mild aroma of Sitaphal, otherwise a sweet Rabri dish. Nothing extra ordinary.

Umme Ali

Sitaphal Rabri
In addition this, I also made parcel for two other sweet items
Caramel Custard: This was simply awesome, but found the quantity to be less for a price of 130/140. Perfect texture, had a balanced taste of not making it overly sweet.

Mango Souffle: Nothing extra-ordinary, had the mango flavor but that's it. Nothing else specific to talk about. Again, I am not happy with the quantity.
Mango Souffle

Caramel Custard
Service: The way they managed the 30/40 people group, showed their maturity, preparedness, thorough planning. Services were prompt, before you can look for waiter, you would find someone nearby your table waiting to help you. This place scores equally good in food & service & that is a rare combination. I sincerely hope that they just maintain standard and don't fall from grace.
Overall, a very good experience & strongly recommend.

Food: 4.5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Ambiance: 4.5/5
VFM: 4/5 - As this was a set menu, it was a good deal no doubt. But I am curious to know the pricing for their individual dishes, how much it costs for a meal of 2. Nevertheless, you can always try it once, if you have inclination for Arabian cuisine.

The other thing I did not feel good looking at their menu is that they claim Indian/Mughlai, Lebanese/Chinese. I know so many places faltered trying to be master of everything, and I hope this guys don't belong to that category. Let's specialize in something and be the best. If I am looking for Chinese, I will go somewhere else. IMHO, it might be confusing for people to find Chinese & Lebanese in the same restaurant where there is hardly anything common between these cuisine. Again, just my personal opinion, the restaurant people are the best judge & I am leaving it up to them.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Food Review: Ci Gusta Madhapur (Hyderabad)

I was looking for a place for a team lunch & while deciding the venue, found that many of us have Ci Gusta in their wish list, but did not manage to go there yet. So, without wasting further time, we decided to go here. Had called the manager one day before, confirmed the reservation.

Upon reaching the next day, the manager Mr. Nagraju explained their menu & suggested some of the dish to try. We ordered Cheese Garlic Bread, followed by 2 portion of Ci gusts di mafia pasta( veg + non-veg), one portion Mediterranean Pizza, two portion of Arrabbiata Pasta (veg & non-veg), one portion of Peri Peri Veg Pizza. The food started coming within 10 minutes of ordering and thereafter we never had to wait for the food after finishing our plate.

The Pastas were the show stoppers, what an amazing sauce. The overall mixture and the flavour was just out of the world, I liked the Ci gust di mafia the most. Among the pizzas, I liked the Mediterranean. The thin crust base  was neither too thin nor too crunchy, a perfect mix. Way better than we normally get in other Pizza joints. Did not try the veg items, so can't comment much but the overall feedback from the vegetarian people were also equally good.

Cheese Garlic Bread
Peri Peri Veg Pizza
After this, we went for gelatos & we were invited to taste all the available flavors. Among them people chose the very famous Pan (Betel leaves), Salted caramel, PanaCotta, Pina Colada, Dark Chocolate. Obviously the Pan was the winner, my personal favourite was Pan, Panacotta & Pina Colada. Also the option of taking 2 different flavors of 1/2 scoop each gave people the flexibility to try many flavors, which was widely appreciated. 
The Gelatos collection
Overall a very satisfying experience, every bit of words that I heard before about the place was true. Special mention about the manager Mr. Nagaraj, he knows his job. Always smiling, making the guests feel comfortable, explaining the dishes - he was at it whatever you want. I would strongly recommend this place for people looking for option other than Indian & Chinese.

Food: 4.5/5
Ambiance: 4.5/5(Very good Wi-Fi connectivity)
Service: 4.5/5
VFM: 4/5 (A bit higher on the pricing side, almost same Pan flavor you would get on Prabai at a lesser price & Prabai is anyway bit costlier than other ice-cream joints)
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