Manage YOUR Performance Review

This week I had a coaching session with an executive who was very disappointed with his performance review. He had worked very hard and had met or exceeded many of his metrics but apparently, because of the force-ranking system of his company, he ended up in the middle of the pack.

He gave me example after example of things he had done all year–and I might concede that they were indeed quite impressive. After he vented, I asked him, “how many people in the room knew of all these things you had done all year?”  He said he had shared them with his boss only as he assumed that was not only the right person but also the only person.

Once in a performance evaluation meeting, every boss pulls for his/her team, especially if forced to rank. It’s political at times and very obscure and often times quite irrelevant data points are thrown out that prejudice one candidate versus another. This is life and it is reality, though clearly not fair. Here are some tips so that you can use to be more influential in managing your own performance and avoid the all-too-common pitfall my client just experienced.

  1. Clearly understand that YOU own your career. Yes you need help and support/sponsors/champions, but you own it. This might be not be a game-changing insight for you… but it starts here.
  2. Create a folder on your smart device or computer and continuously track (a) all your accomplishments, (b) new skills you have acquired, and (3) new people (internal and external) you have added to your network. Most of us only do this when we have to (just prior to review time) and many key items are forgotten, or context for accomplishments is lost.
  3. Immediately upon successful completion of a project or whatever you are doing, ask for a review from the person responsible for what you worked on–it might be as simple as a one-paragraph email. Save them all.
  4. Summarize these every quarter and proactively share them with both your boss and your HR liaison.
  5. Prior to either your mid-year or annual review, you should craft your own “Annual Report” (metaphor for what companies do to report their performance) and share it with everyone you have worked with who you know will be evaluating you and proactively ask that these data points be considered in your evaluation.

Doing these recommendations might still not get you the performance grade that you want, but I guarantee you it will have an impact in the meeting and over time, neither politics or personal relationships can truly compete with a consistent high performer. Start today.

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