How to survive this years review:
1. Do a self-evaluation. Even if your company does not ask you to assess your own performance, do it anyways. This will prepare you for your review meeting and put you in a stronger position vis-vis your boss. Youre sharing information as opposed to receiving it. If you can get the assessment form your boss will be using on you, use the same format. If not, just identify your strengths and accomplishments, plus areas for improvement. Be honest with yourself and take the time to thoughtfully analyze your performance.
2. Imagine yourself a year from now. What would be different next year if you could look back and say the year was a total success? Would you have more or less responsibility? More or fewer direct reports? A completely different job description? Paint a picture of your perfect career in the future and use todays review as a launch pad to get there. Many reviews focus mainly on past performance, but this is a great way to talk to your boss about your future and what resources and support youll need to make the next year your best ever.
3. Dont be defensive. Sounds obvious, but its no easy task. Its natural to get your guard up when youre nervous and theres a lot at stake, but try to take criticism with grace and really listen to the feedback you are being given. Easier said than done! I find that most times when people get constructive criticism, they react defensively in the moment, but oftentimes later, after some time and reflection, they come to understand the true meaning of the feedback and use it for self-improvement. What would be awesome is if we could find that reflection in the moment and just be open to the criticism in real time. Say (out loud, if necessary), I am open to feedback, and I appreciate the coaching. If you are committed to self-improvement, this is a great way to start.
Plan ahead for your 2015 review:
1. Write it now. Youve already imagined yourself a year from now, so write it down. Basically, what you are doing is setting goals for yourself. As Stephen Covey writes in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you have to begin with the end in mind. Start working as if you are already there. Take on that extra project that matters to you. Lean in and be that person you wrote about. Youll find that a clear picture of your future-self will help you focus on the steps youll need to follow to get there.
2. Keep track of your accomplishments. Use a notebook or your calendar to write down your daily tasks and projects. Keep track of how you are doing in real time, so when its time to recall the full year, you have good notes to take all the credit you deserve. Most reviews focus on whats top of mind, and thats usually only the last seven to thirty days. But if the review is supposed to cover a full year (or even six months), make sure you have the ammunition to recall events from the whole review period.
3. Ask for help. What are the challenges youve had trouble overcoming? Did you have the appropriate resources and guidance available? Ask your boss to help you achieve positive outcomes and enable your success. Show your boss how your success ties to the companys success, and align yourselves towards a common goal. Be specific about what you need and why. If you enlist your boss as your ally, youll behave more like a team, and your boss will have a vested interest in your success.
Now that youve got the tools, use them throughout the year not just this one time. Check in with your goals frequently, keep track all year long, and enlist your boss to help you all along the way. Good luck! And let me know how it goes