Performance appraisals are never fun.


Even though we have tried our best, worked some extremely long hours, and delivered most of our work deliverables – there is still this tingling feeling deep down inside us that some of the mistakes that we made may be used against us.

Recently, a good friend of mine confided in me and admitted that he is frustrated at his place of work because of the unfairness of his work appraisal system.

He kept telling me stories about how the ones who show initiative and constantly propose new ideas to bring positive change to the company are always being shot down.

However, the ones who just do the bare minimum got a good appraisal, which gave them a decent salary increment.

Therefore, he and I coined the phrase – ‘You can do very well here by just doing nothing, and you can get the boot because you tried to do everything’.

Most of the management journals that I have read all pretty much say the same thing – that if an employee or a group of employees feel that their colleague or a set of colleagues were appraised incorrectly and given undeserving high scores, the results would divide the team or department. It would also create animosity within the working group, and the ones who have to pick up the slack and break the constant tension are the bosses or management. If you were the business owner, you would get pretty worried because your employees are fighting rather than working and making you money.

But as a person who has witnessed the facilitation of some relatively unfair performance appraisals, I can just sum it up in one simple story – first there is the appraisal, then the victors smile, the “need improvers” put on a fake smile and might choose to make some noise, so the bosses then create a resolution followed by promotions but there are also resignations. The story ends with the ever-eager headhunter getting a call after which he yells out to his staff, “We got business guys, let’s get cracking.”

You may think I am being cynical but facts are facts, and you will never get the real truth from the employees because the ones who get promoted say their company system is fair and perfect. The ones who don’t get the pay rise or promotion say their company is horrible and the typical Malaysian phrase I used to hear is, “My bosses are racist. That is why I did not get promoted or appraised fairly.”

One management journal that I read also said that, “Less than 50 percent of CEOs are convinced their performance management approach helps them drive employee engagement or business results.”

But the major question I always ask people in management is what is more important to them in a workplace relationship – trust or workplace results? Most of them say both and give me a long-winded answer.   But why do many people who manage to hit their numbers and achieve their workplace goals still come out with mediocre scores in their work appraisals? It’s the trust factor and it is not an Asian thing, or a Western thing; it’s a human thing.

SPM students are always getting our best wishes when they are sitting their exams. Maybe we should also start the year by wishing all workplace employees the best. The notice should read, “Good luck to all working Malaysians in your upcoming performance appraisals; may you be appraised accurately and fairly.”

Happy 2016 everyone!




  • 6 teams, 5 Countries, 1 Region, 1 Goal.
  • My article in the Star Newspaper on 31.12.2015


Some of my non-sports friends always come up to me and say that they can’t understand why so many people follow Football or Golf.  Regardless of the sport, they always say that it’s basically one man or a group of men chasing a ball.

I always respond by saying that they are complaining to the wrong person because I love sports.  But I also say that most sports have a technical nature to them, and you have to understand the technique to love and appreciate that respective sport.

Then they ask, what sport is simple to follow and also very entertaining?   That’s when I start telling them about Basketball, more specifically the Asean Basketball League AKA the ABL.

Basketball is about scoring and stopping the opposition from scoring.  The scoring part is quite entertaining – as the players have to shoot or place the ball into the Basketball net.  Placing the ball into the net includes the famous slam-dunks, lay-ups, and the acrobatic aerial moves that the players do to try and score.

Defensive moves are also great to watch – players knocking the ball out of their opponents’ hands for the steal or blocking them when the individual from the opposing team is trying to do a slam dunk or fancy aerial move.

So after explaining the above, the next question I get asked is, “So where can I watch this?  From the sound of your explanation, you are asking me to watch the NBA.”

I laugh again and say, all you have to do is go down to MABA in KL and watch our Westports Malaysia Dragons take on opposing teams in the ever-growing Asean Basketball League.

The League first started in 2009 and has grown from strength to strength ever since its inception.  The League has 6 teams this season.

Participating teams this season are the Singapore Slingers, Mono Vampire Basketball Club and Hitech Bangkok City from Thailand, Pilipinas MX3 Kings from the Philippines, Saigon Heat from Vietnam, and our Westports Malaysia Dragons.

In previous seasons, the League had participation from the Indonesia Warriors and Laskar Dreya South Sumatra from Indonesia, Philippine Patriots and San Miguel Beermen from the Philippines, Bangkok Cobras, and the Brunei Barracudas.

The League is now in its 6th season (2015/2016) which started in late October.   Each team will play 10 home games, and 10 away games during the regular season that ends in late February 2016.  The top 4 teams will qualify for the playoffs (Semi-finals) and the winners of each respective semi-final series will play each other in the ABL Finals series.  A series usually is a best of 3 or 5 games.

Each team usually consists of a 12-man roster – 2 American imports, 2 ASEAN imports (imports from other ASEAN countries), and 8 local players.  The American imports are tall, massive athletes who are known for their slam-dunks and scoring pedigree.

The ASEAN imports are usually from the Philippines.  Not as tall as the American imports, but because they have played Basketball nearly their whole lives and the sport is almost like a religion over there, these ASEAN talents really know how to play the game.

Some people always argue, regardless of the sport, that for a local Asian league to produce good talent, it must not have foreign participation.  But the ABL has proven that the League has made the local athletes better Basketball players.

If you look at the recent 2015 SEA Games Basketball tournament, the Philippines team only defeated Indonesia 72-64 (Final), and Thailand 80-75 (Semi-Final).  In the past, our Pinoy friends would have racked up cricket scores on opposing teams.

Coach Ariel Vanguardia of the Westports Malaysia Dragons also believes that the League is improving the quality of local players.   He says, “Most of these guys come from Football countries.   So for some of the countries, Basketball development leagues are hard to come by.  The ABL gives the local players the exposure and opportunity to play with international talents, which will eventually teach them how to play quick, aggressive, high-pressure Basketball.  Just like the big Basketball countries.”

Dragons co-founder, Ruben Gnanalingam, believes it’s also about giving our local talents the right exposure.  He says, “Exposure is very crucial in any form of development.  The ABL competition gives our local talents that high quality exposure.”

Last year, the Westports Malaysia Dragons made the ABL finals but unfortunately lost to Hitech Bangkok City.   When the Dragons made the finals, there was a renewed faith amongst the Malaysian sporting community that our country is capable of achieving great things in sports.

But success in sports is a journey.  Just because you win today, does not necessarily mean you will win tomorrow.  Athletes and coaches must always keep working, competing, believing and dreaming of continuous success – a great set of life lessons. And that is why I love sports, especially Basketball.

I hope to see all of you at an ABL Dragons game someday.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed that you came, because in Basketball, the fans make the difference.


Happy New Year everyone!


Ben Ibrahim is a TV Presenter with Foxsports Asia, an Emcee, and also the home TV commentator for the Westports Malaysia Dragons.  He can be contacted on his email at, twitter @benibrahim, and instagram: benibrahim_

Happy New Year & So Sorry!


Happy New Year everyone!

Let me start 2016 with an apology. I am so sorry that I have not

updated my blog in the last 3 weeks, as I was swamped with work –

Mainly hosting events and commentating on ABL (Asean Basketball

League) games.

I am also going to try and make this blog more interesting this

year, and I have been talking to a few people who are going to try

and help me do so. Nothing finalized yet, but patience is the key.

What did you all think about the new Star Wars movie? I quite

liked it, but the bad guy’s name is Kylo Ren or Ben Solo. My

daughters name is Kyla, and my first name is Ben – so I don’t know

how I feel about that 

I want to talk more about the movie but I think I will spoil it for

many people who have not watched it. So I will button my fingers


Thanks for all your support thus far, I know this blog is not that big

at the moment and that’s cool. But I really do enjoy having an

outlet where I can share my perspectives on topics that interest you

and I – Sport, Leadership and entrepreneurship.

If you build it, it will come they say. Well I can only say I will try

my best.

Take care and let 2016 be a year where positive things happen to

all of us.