Several clients have recently been talking to me about preparing for their annual review. It seems to be getting earlier every year, and is as sensitive as ever. The annual clash of expectations, perceptions and rewards, or lack of them. And, the time the politics come to the fore, for good, or for ill.
The common approach is to prepare your own summary of achievements, and progress. What the challenges and problems have been, and also, suggestions on what next. Oft times one wonders what the boss’ role in this is, apart from meting out the judgment, on behalf of the omnipotent HRD policy on such matters. Ah, the good old game of My Hands are Tied!
Anyway, enough of that negative frame, let’s use this as an opportunity, a personal one, to do your own review. This may or may not be shared with your boss, but should certainly be shared with a few close and trusted friends, just to add a little perspective.
If you do this before your preparation for your formal review, it will likely put you in a much more positive mood, and allow you to keep a healthy context to the event. You will also be more in control if the wheels start to wobble (Yes, I too have had an arduous hour appraisal 90% focused on one small piece of negative opinion. Very close to resigning that year!)
So, get out your notebook and aim to complete this in 20-30 minutes.
- Reflect for a few minutes on all of the key events that have taken place this year.
- List four or five things that have worked well for you. Focus on the positive. Think about what things delivered a great result.
- Ask yourself, why did these things work well? Slightly strange question, but persist and write down what comes to mind. This is looking behind the scenes at what worked well, and attempting to determine what it was that caused the successes.
- Now, thinking forward to next year, what would the ideal year look like? Go into some detail, and perhaps imagine what may be possible, dare to dream, but keep your feet on the ground. Write down your vision.
- So, if that’s where you want to get to, the vision you wish to realise, what steps can you begin to take right now to get the ball rolling, or make it move faster? Don’t fret about a complete list. Just get enough down to get you started.
- Next, what help and support would it be really useful to get? This could be particular resources, or moral support, specialist input. What can you add to your list of actions to start to get what you need?
- Finally, and this is optional but recommended, review your work with a mentor, coach or trusted friend. Their perspective could be extremely useful.
This is the exact process I have used with two clients in the last week, and it works a treat. In fact, I have also done it myself and have lined up a coffee with one of my mentors to discuss what came out of it. Actually, I did it twice. In addition to the work, I also applied exactly the same process to my personal life.
Anyway, give it a go and see what you come up with. I guarantee it will put you in a much stronger position going into any formal review, and it will also give you a much healthier perspective on the actions you need to take to make progress in your career/life.
If you want me to help you with this review, book a session and I promise that I will be able to peel back the layers, challenge your perceptions and help you to plot your way forward, within a very short space of time.
Colin Gautrey is an author, coach, and trainer who specialises in the practical use of power and influence in large organisations. He has 25 years’ experience helping middle/senior professionals to survive, thrive and enjoy their work.
If you are ready to develop your influencing capability, become a member of Breakthrough Influence. If you are serious about becoming highly influential, fast, engage with Colin and he will help you get there in the most effective way possible.
Selected case studies:
How to reach your tipping point…
…beyond which, life becomes so much easier.
This is important. Tipping points usually arrive just after your darkest hour, when all seemed lost, hopeless.
I don’t wish to be overly dramatic, but it is true. Although, it is also possible to avoid the need for a tipping point entirely.
One of my current coaching clients achieved this. Let’s call her Beryl (because it is fun to imagine her reaction when she reads this).
Beryl had been on a desperately needed vacation, fully expecting that she would be leaving her company, of her own volition, when she returned. She’d had a belly full of the put-downs, disrespect and discourtesy.
In a heavily male-dominated environment, she felt…
Influence: Taking an $18,000 Pay Cut
Jim just took a big financial hit. He could take it no longer. Being powerless was more than he could bear.
Jim’s story is not unique. Many people I talk to are suffering as Jim did, though many don’t make a commitment to action.
At 47, he feels he is running out of time. An engineer by trade, he has always taken great pride in his technical skills. Innovative, intelligent, and hard-working. He also has a good heart and wants to do his very best for his employer.
A couple of years back he left his job because of a significant disagreement with a co-worker. This colleague was a game player, through and through. Taking advantage of Jim and manipulating him into a position where he fell from grace. Jim’s exit…