It's getting close to that time for the yearly performance reviews. Most people dread the thought of having to put these together because they often are confused or frustrated as to what to include.
Good thing, too, that you get to put together your own performance assessment. Who else would you trust to accurately report on your accomplishments? That doesn't mean you don't need assistance, since most people don't think strategically about their position. It is too easy to obsess on the routine rather than the exceptional.
To get the greatest impact from your performance assessment, you have to think strategically. Here are 5 priorities for putting together a better summary of your accomplishments. Each priority has a quote from management guru Peter Drucker.
1. Focus on Results - "Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things."
To have an effective performance assessment, skip all those just-part-of-my-job activities and focus on where you were most effective this past year. Don't just write "Ran weekly quality meeting with staff", write about the results and impact, "My weekly quality meetings resulted in a 25% increase in Perfect Order Fill."
What if you can't prove '25% increase'? Another way of showing impact is looking through your Have You Started Your "Love File" ? and you at least have quotations if you don't have numbers.
You are looking for evidence of what you did. Measurements are your friends because they are the proof that you have of doing an effective job. Of course, we are talking about evidence of results, not activity. Something like '50 weeks of meetings about improving quality", only shows proof of activity. It's not just numbers you are looking for; the best numbers are those that confirm the outcomes of your efforts. If evidence is not apparent, maybe you have been tracking the wrong things and you should immediately identify better ways of measuring the evidence of your performance.
2. Work smarter, not harder - "Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level."
Most discussion around decision-making assumes that only senior executives make decisions or that only senior executives make decisions or that only executive decisions matter. We all have to make decisions, even if it's just how much energy and effort we are going to put into those decisions made by management.
The decisions you make about what you do, what you don't do, and how much effort you invest are all very important because you are in control of those decisions and that effort is what you are showing in your performance assessment. Plus, we live in a world where the expectation is immediacy. You don't have the luxury of waiting on some executive to provide all of your answers, make your decision to resolve an issue, put something into play and move forward.
Evidence of good decision-making is those outcomes, those results you create by your actions. Making better decisions moves you toward working smarter and getting more done.
3. Line up your accomplishments with the organization's goals - "Management by objectives works if you first think through your objectives. Ninety percent of the time you haven't."
How do you tie your own result to your company's priorities? You may find that you have to decipher some of those organizational goals yourself. What does "Optimize core processes" really mean? Sometimes I think the creators of strategy try to be intentionally oblique. Bring it down to your level; ask yourself what areas that you have direct control to change and affect?
This is one priority that you need to check and validate with your manager(s). Why? While individual effort makes you look good on your performance review, it is just as important to collaborate with others and other departments so that the organization's results will be greater than just the sum of individual efforts.
4. Collaborate - "Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes."
The best way to better communicate your accomplishments over the year is to talk with the "3 C's": your co-workers, your customers, and your community. You need feedback to better understand your effects and validate your own notions of results. Plus, you need to be challenged, so don't fool yourself about your perceived notions of impact.
Make sure your performance assessment recognizes and credits others as well. The achievement of some of your goals was realized through collaboration, teamwork, and support from others. Don't go overboard, because it is your performance review, just be gracious and share credit where appropriate.
5. Take a positive step forward - "The best way to predict the future is to create it."
It is easy to articulate the annoyances that exist in every work situation. Noticing what's wrong is only the first step, changing it for the better is what makes a performance review sparkle. Take an active part in change and understand that change is a process, not an event.
Your managers aren't going to remember everything you did during the year. For the most effective performance review, distill your activities to focus on results. When you align those results with the organization's goals, you make that connection between your accomplishments and why they matter. Although this is an individual performance review, collaboration is a key to increase the power of your contributions by working with others.
By keeping these priorities straight, you can work smarter, not harder which definitely helps improve your performance that then translates well on your performance review.