A 5-steps guide for your next performance review


In this blog post:

  1. Time to dream – clarifying your goals
  2. Celebrate your achievements
  3. Get the right questions answered
  4. Ask for at least one thing for the year to come
  5. Prepare for feedback

Alright, it’s that time of year again – the performance review season. Cue the butterflies in your stomach, the subtle stress-eating of office snacks, and the overthinking about what you’re going to say when your boss asks, “So, how’s it been going?” If the idea of discussing your achievements makes you want to break into a cold sweat, fear not – you’re not alone.

But here’s the deal: your performance review is not just a mere checklist of accomplishments; it’s a golden opportunity to chart the course for your professional journey. Think of it as the annual meeting where you get to sit down with your boss, spill the beans on your dreams, and shake hands with your aspirations. It’s a conversation about growth, learning, and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead – way beyond just asking for a raise or the elusive next promotion.

So, if you’re stuck in the achievement labyrinth or find yourself tongue-tied about what else to talk about in that meeting room, buckle up! We’re about to turn your performance review into a dynamic discussion that’s as thrilling as a TED Talk but with a touch more office flair. Let’s break free from the monotony and infuse some fun and fervor into this yearly rendezvous. After all, who said performance reviews can’t be the highlight of your professional year? Get ready to turn that meeting room into your very own stage for professional growth. Let’s dive in!

1. Dream Big: Clarify Your Goals

Your performance review is your chance to dream about your career and work towards a future you desire. Ask yourself pivotal questions like:

  1. What do you envision for your career?
  2. Are you content with your current path, or do you see opportunities for change?
  3. Consider your long-term goals and map out steps to achieve them.

Think beyond the next year and envision various possible futures. Having clarity on your aspirations will help you identify the skills you want to acquire and the goals you want to set during your performance review.

2. Shine a Spotlight on Your Achievements

This is your time to shine. Don’t downplay your accomplishments; instead, create a comprehensive list of what you’ve achieved throughout the year. Follow these steps:

  1. Document the goals you’ve been working towards, including any from your previous performance review.
  2. If personal performance goals were assigned, use them as a guide.
  3. Outline your contributions to major responsibilities and company goals.
  4. Utilize evidence such as project launches, revenue generated, or improvements in metrics.

Numbers are impactful, but also highlight non-quantifiable achievements like skills learned and relationships built. Consider creating a spreadsheet to keep track of your accomplishments for future reference.

3. Seek Clarity: Ask the Right Questions

Use your performance review as an opportunity to clarify expectations and align your goals with those of the company. Ask questions like:

  1. What are the company’s goals for the year?
  2. What are our team’s objectives?
  3. What are your expectations for me?
  4. How will I know when I’ve met these goals?
  5. Are there specific metrics I can track to gauge my performance?

Understanding your role and expectations is crucial for career growth. If there’s a significant gap between your current responsibilities and what’s expected, consider discussing a potential title change during the performance review.

4. Plan to ask for at least one thing for the coming year

Don’t shy away from expressing your aspirations for the upcoming year. Whether it’s a raise, promotion, or a stretch goal, articulate your desires. Frame it as a collaborative discussion:

  1. Express your interest in discussing future opportunities, such as a promotion or raise.
  2. Be prepared to hear that immediate action might not be possible.
  3. Work with your manager to set mini-goals and a development plan to achieve your objectives.

While this may encompass seeking a raise or promotion in the near future, it could also involve aiming for a challenging objective—such as venturing into managerial roles, taking charge of a specific process, or presenting metrics to the leadership team, as brainstormed in step one. Craft your message along the lines of expressing, “I would like to initiate discussions about [promotion/raise/managerial role/etc.] and explore the necessary steps to make it a reality.”

5. Embrace Feedback: Be Open to Growth

Feedback, both positive and constructive, is an integral part of performance reviews. Anticipate feedback by reflecting on your own areas of improvement. During the review:

  • Listen attentively without getting defensive.
  • Ask for specific examples to understand the feedback better.
  • Own up to valid criticisms and outline plans for improvement.
  • If overwhelmed, express a desire to revisit the feedback later.

Responding professionally to feedback showcases your commitment to personal and professional growth.

Approach your performance review with confidence by following these five steps. Dream big, showcase your achievements, seek clarity on expectations, express your desires, and embrace feedback. With careful preparation, you’ll not only make the most out of your performance review but also set the stage for a successful year ahead. Good luck!

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