Personal Performance Review: Five Steps to Put Your Career Path in Your Own Hands

By Joe Girard

Are you worried about your performance? Do you really know what you contribute? Are you unsure of the direction you are going? The steps below will help guide you through a self-assessment and move you towards better performance.

Most times we leave the performance review up to someone else – supervisor, boss. We wait with anticipation to see if we are doing a good job. Wouldn’t it be nice to be totally aware of what you do and how well you do it?

Remember that you are the one who understands what you do every day better than anyone else. Who better to assess and develop your talent than the person in the mirror?

The five stages are:

1. Awareness
2. Planning
3. Action
4. Evaluation
5. Decision

1. AWARENESS: Understand the goals of your boss and other stakeholders

This will be the most important step of the process and will help you gain the focus you need. In any situation, before change can take place, awareness is the key. Complete awareness of the whole picture. Keep in mind that this stage is not where you share your ideas of how things can change, improve or be more efficient. Request a meeting or share a coffee. You should feverishly take notes. Ask questions, and paraphrase that you understand the information correctly. Ask about what makes them excited about their job and the company. Find out what direction they see it going. Question about what they think the company does great and some wish lists they might have on how the company can improve. You might think that these types of questions could be considered as intrusive; however most people will be happy to talk about their own goals and passions for their jobs.

2. PLANNING: Make a list of everything you do – clean house, start fresh

From watering plants to washing your hands before brain surgery, leave no task off the list. This will allow you to see exactly what you do. Then do the following:

  • Analyze the importance of each task. Rate them ABC
  • Analyze the percentage of time spent on each task
  • Compare time spent and importance
  • Find a way to remove unimportant activities

By freeing up your time and removing unimportant activities, you will unlock the freedom to add new, more productive tasks to your day.

3. ACTION: Set goals for the month and the year – then work to achieve them!

One of the challenges many people have when they look at their job and company is that they don’t understand the value of goal setting and follow-through. Goals are not just ideas, but actions which are specific and measurable. Everyone has ideas; to excel you must act on them and produce results. They can be big goals like being a better leader or something as small as making sure that your desk is clean at the end of each day.

4. EVALUATION: Review your performance monthly and yearly – be honest

In one of my recent blogs, I wrote about conquering the week, which was about the feeling you get when you accomplish the goals you set out. How do you feel when you start and then finish something? We all have those days and weeks where we end up just coasting through. We wonder what is happening on Facebook. We check the news or sports scores. We might still get everything done that we needed to do that day, but we don’t really feel like we achieved something special. But we have all also had the days where we just kick the crap out of everything, we might stay late, or we put our stamp on something special. When you have one of those days, do you feel like going home and telling everyone what a great day you had? What if you could capture that magic and make it a more frequent occurrence. That is where goal setting and accomplishing comes in. When you put your future in your own hands, you can build that momentum.

5. DECIDE: Make a decision on your future – take steps to see it through

Whether you are struggling to find your passion, contemplating leaving your current job, or trying to build your empire, you should not make decisions based on emotions. Do your research and study the situation. Once you have built thorough knowledge of the situation, you can make informed decisions. It is at this time you can approach your boss or other stakeholders to discuss new opportunities and ideas. Your ideas will be concrete, actionable, and measurable. You will also have the confidence to vocalize your ideas. Confidence is king.

It’s your choice

This process might seem time-consuming and overwhelming, but you are investing in your future. Take the time to thoroughly understand how to increase your own personal brand. Through this process, you can build your resume and ultimately your future. I will be talking about personal branding in some upcoming blogs, so make sure you subscribe to the blog.

Think about this – can you find one hour a week to invest in planning and developing your own personal development plan? Perhaps you could skip an hour of TV or hanging out on Facebook? It’s your choice.

There are so many seminars and books on professional or self-development. When I talk to others about their experiences with these tools, the response I get always amazes me. A common answer is, “Oh, I’ve heard this before…nothing new.” I ask them if they think the advice is good. “Sure,” they say.

So why don’t they use the advice? Oh it takes work. Only about 5% of people who read about self-development or attend seminars actually use the information and put it to good use. It is usually that 5% that achieve the most success.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes
dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

-Thomas Edison

“I am aware that success is more than a good idea.”
-Anita Roddick (1942–2007) English entrepreneur and activist, founder of The Body Shop

Joe Girard is the Systems Project Manager for Sprott Shaw College and lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. For more information on Joe, visit his website or email him at joegirard@gmail.com.

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