Over the past holiday weekend, I noticed on TV that a couple of big box retailers were advertising (read SCREAMING) about their “Christmas in July” sales. For some reason their reference to Christmas reminded me that many employees will be having their year-end performance reviews in about 4-5 months. If this includes you, then I want to ask, “Are you ready to toot your horn?”
Years ago before I finally wised up, I would typically find myself scrambling during the week or so before my annual review. I’d be frantically searching for facts, figures, and files related to how I’d spent the company’s money (my time) and what I thought the ROI had been during the previous year.
Factual, quantifiable project information was usually easy to find because I owned most of it, but that often wasn’t the most valuable data I needed for a review with my manager.
Some of the most valuable information involved the examples of positive conversations that others (coworkers, suppliers, customers) were having about me, my work and the service I had provided them.
Preparing To Toot Your Horn
Here are three examples of what I mean by “positive conversations others were having about me”, and some suggestions on how you can capture and create a set of your own:
- Unsolicited Positive Comments That Come To You By Email…from anyone you work with or serve.
Here’s an example I suspect you’ve experienced in some form or another. You get an email saying something like, “Don, thanks for your tireless efforts on our team project. No question, your role was key in us completing the project on time.”
Testimonials like this are pure gold because someone else is tooting their horn for YOU. The beauty of these are that you can take snippets and drop them into the relevant performance review sections.
To collect these, simply create a separate email folder titled PerfReview2014 and slide each email in the folder after it shows up in your Inbox. Be sure to do this all year long. A key habit is to do it immediately after reading the email.
- Unsolicited Comments Offered To You Verbally. These are a little tougher to capture, but it’s possible and it’s worth it.
Depending on your relationship with the other person, upon receiving their kind remarks, simply ask them if they’d be willing to write you a short note expressing their feelings.
If you’re uncomfortable asking, then make some notes in an email to yourself so you can stash it in your PerfReview2014 folder. At a minimum, this gives you the opportunity to reference their remarks during your review, if it makes sense.
- Comments That You Solicit From Others…about what it’s like to work with you and about the level of service you’re providing.
If you’ve done work that you’re proud of and confident in, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out and asking others for their honest feedback. You should be doing this already anyway as a part of your personal development and self improvement efforts.
Performance reviews and interviews are both conversations where it sometimes makes sense to bring in a voice that isn’t yours, to “speak” about your talents and accomplishments. Unfortunately, this can’t happen unless you’ve captured what others are saying about you!
Why not start today by watching for and collecting unsolicited (and solicited) testimonials from those who know you best? Better yet, make this a lifelong habit!
To Your Success,
Question: How do you currently capture and use the positive conversations others are having about you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.