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Setting some new KPIs

Ann Rennie  |  11 November 2018

As we look towards the new year, perhaps we need to set ourselves some new goals so we can work towards everyday holiness.

As the year winds down and the festivities step up, the season of the annual review begins. This is about how the year has been for us professionally, whether or not we have accomplished set goals, what went well and what could be improved. It’s a report card of the adult variety. These evaluations often come under the dreaded acronym KPI – key performance indicators.

Sometimes the process can be affirming and sometimes there are elements of anxiety involved if what you believe you have achieved may not be seen to satisfy managerial requirements. Sometimes what matters is not even counted. However, we are not just workers in various institutions subject to different bureaucratic demands that make decisions about our agency in the workforce. Thank God, we are all more than functionaries, cookie-cutter clones or automatons. We are gloriously holy and imperfect human beings jostling and bumping along together on the road of life.


We also happen to be Christians. For us, there could be another standard worth examining. This is not simply a measure of some feel-good altruism, but a way of confirming that we live with an everyday holiness that demands that we love our neighbour as ourselves.

This is the kindness performance indicator.

One of the routine workplace kindnesses I see often is when a colleague, instead of just checking and collecting material from their own pigeonhole, has a quick squiz to see if their colleagues’ pigeonholes also need clearing. Material is quietly delivered to the recipients’ desks – saving them a trip down two flights of stairs in the middle of a busy day. Such kindnesses are the lubricants of collegiality, little grace notes that make a workplace warm.

A small kindness might be noticing that someone needs a moment to themselves or a gentle hug. They might need the acknowledgment that we are with them emotionally, prayerfully, during difficult times. Saying ‘We are praying for you’ is a special sort of kindness understood by Catholics. Even cheerfulness is a kindness when an atmosphere is gloomy.


Saint Therese of Lisieux championed the The Little Way, a model of practising everyday acts of saintliness for those of us who are not in the position to make grand or heroic gestures.

A small kindness might be a quick note or a bunch of flowers or muffins made for a morning tea. It might be sitting next to the new person at a meeting or making a coffee for someone who is harried. It could be doing something for which there will be no appreciation and perhaps even mockery or derision or a metaphorical slap in the face. This is when kindness really counts. The God who notices the lilies and the sparrows sees especially those acts which are done without the witness of an audience; the acts that tell of who we are in the privacy of our true hearts.


Colossians 3:12 reminds us: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

As we embrace the New Year with its plans, schemes and to-do lists etched into its unfolding days and weeks, perhaps these rebadged KPIs can measure who we truly say we are.


Topic tags: valuesandmoraldecision-making, responsiblerelationships, healthycommunitylife

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