In an earlier column I wrote about how to maximize your company review process. This week’s piece is for those employees at companies that do not have a formal review process.
I once coached a mid-career researcher feeling adrift in her career to give herself a personal performance review. When we actually itemized where she was and what she needed to do, she felt energized, inspired and much more confident. Effective reviews accomplish three main things: measuring progress; setting goals; and defining an action plan. Whatever your job situation — if you work for yourself, are an employee or are in between jobs — give yourself a personal performance review.
Measure your progress. What have you accomplished in the last three, six, nine and twelve months? Is this more or less than you had planned? If you are self-employed, have you hit your revenue and growth targets? If you are in-between jobs, what have you done towards your job search or career development?
Set or re-set goals. Do you need to continue with the plans you made for this year? Have circumstances changed to warrant new goals? If you are an employee, has your company or industry changed where it may make sense to develop new skills, focus on different areas or look for a new job? If self-employed, will you focus on the cost or revenue side of the business? If in-between jobs, will you focus on finding new job prospects, networking with existing targets, interviewing skills, or learning a new trade?
Define a concrete action plan. Based on the goals, what exactly are you going to do over the next six months? How does this translate month-by-month and week-by-week?
Reviews that measure performance are great for holding you accountable to your plans. Reviews that help clarify old goals or identify new goals are great for providing short- term direction. Most importantly, however, the outcome of a review should be actionable steps. We might think we have not accomplished anything in the last few months. Or maybe our circumstances may have changed to render whatever actions we have taken obsolete. But we can always progress further along than we are now. Give your career a review and act accordingly.