19 Jan

Outsmart Performance Appraisals: Follow a smarter playbook to play your biggest game

Outsmart Performance Apprasials

We all need performance feedback to guide our career development and ensure faster promotions. Whether you look forward to performance reviews and performance appraisals or dread the idea, they are inevitable for almost everyone. That’s why in 2012 I want you to be more proactive about taking the reins when it comes to performance evaluations.

Don’t wait for them to come to you with their own standardized checklist. Figure out what your real strength is. Then go to your boss way ahead of time and ask for specific feedback regarding that contribution. By doing so you highlight your unique value, and you also make sure that it gets noticed – even if the organization is distracted by looking at other kinds of standard attributes or results. Remember that what you measure during a performance review depends on what you examine. So focus their analysis on your strengths now so that they start tracking your success early.

Needless to say, you aren’t the only one being watched, so there may also be internal conflicts related to this kind of appraisal. If you shine brighter or score higher than your direct superior, for instance, that could potentially feel like a threat to your boss. You don’t want to be in that situation, especially if your boss is tabulating the results of your own appraisal. So be proactive. Sit down and clarify your shared goals in a collaborative way. Set up an informal performance contract between yourself and your boss, with concrete metrics and verifiable benchmarks that benefit both of you as well as your organization.

The optimum way to ask for feedback is once a month, so that each quarter – and certainly by the time your official evaluation comes around – you’ll have accumulated a visible record of goal achievement, skill development, and verifiable contributions. Instead of wondering what the performance review holds for you, you’ll already know – because you took charge of the process months before your colleagues and competitors for prized promotions even thought about their own performance reviews.

Tell me what you think! Please post your valued and valuable comments below.



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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.

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Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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