The KRA Trap

Rajneesh Mittal

12/17/20231 min read

I was once in a CIO summit and some 20-30 of us were in a breakout session. That was like 6-7 years ago, much before this current tech-tech-everywhere era. CIOs at that time were largely about KTLO operations, managing projects, deploying tech - as opposed to creating it - in alignment with the business and obviously managing the CEO bosses. I was arguing that as CIOs, we need to change tack a little bit and we should also be creating tech or at least be active partners in that (eg by working hand in glove with a startup) as this will help us solve our specific business problems much better, faster and efficiently compared to always deploying an OTS box (obviously sometimes deploying an off-the-shelf solution is enough and good enough). 3-4 CIOs jumped on me saying our bosses don’t expect this of us and that they want us to run projects, not write code!

Like most things in life, KRAs are double edged swords. They do what they are supposed to do, but they turn the fluid dynamic humans into robots. Workers start believing that the well is their world. That there is no world behind the blinders. Majority of employees go through their careers abiding to the KRAs like its their vision and mission of life. They retire and orgs stutter through the times.

We know what Google’s “20% project” or 3M’s 15% did. Not encouraging workers to break free beyond the ambit of KRAs leads to orgs just chugging along safely in their orbit. You can do a million “orbit shift” outbounds but there won’t be an iota of shift unless we retrieve the humans back from KRA fed humanoids.