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How to get the most out of your …

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How do you approach your annual performance review? Do you see it as a golden opportunity to reflect on what you have achieved, how you have contributed and set your plan for personal and professional growth?

Or do you groan and see it as nothing more than a tick a box exercise.

Your view is likely influenced by past experience, the focus your manger puts on it and your sense of process fairness.

Whatever your perception is, let’s make sure that you are in an empowered position when it comes to this time of year. Given that the process is usually linked to payment of bonuses, pay increases and potential promotions; investing time and energy into showcasing your value and contribution is well worth it!

Here’s how to get the most out of your performance review.

1. Preparation is key. Throughout the year keep a file (hard copy or digital) of your achievements. A year is a long time so let’s make sure we capture them all – big and small.

Ideally your preparation does not start the night before your review… but if it does, go through your calendar to jog your memory of the activities and projects you have been involved with and your team success stories.

This is your opportunity to think a little out of the box about your broader contribution – for example to team moral, delivering exceptional customer service or embedding the business values.

2. Take control. This is your review, not your managers so set the tone, direction and be clear on what you want to get out of the process. At a minimum, make sure you have completed all the pre-work required and come to the meeting with a clear agenda of what you want the outcome to be.

Over the past 5 years I’ve facilitated a 360 degree feedback process for an organization. Each year there are a couple of leaders who come to the feedback session super prepared and in control of their own learning and growth.   They are a joy to work with and their results year on year have surpassed those who have been more passive in their approach to the process.

So make sure you are leading the process not the other way around.

3. Be bold. Ladies… this is not a time to be overly humble. This is your opportunity to showcase your achievements and the contribution you have made. Don’t hold back and don’t assume your manager has noticed your good work.

Make sure you are not just talking about your technical skill. You need also to be demonstrating how you have contributed to the achievement of the overall business strategy and creating a team who are engaged and highly effective in delivering exceptional results.

4. Claim your career ambition. Take advantage of your performance review to voice your career ambitions. Too many women I work with sit back and expect that by delivering exceptional work that the promotion will come. It doesn’t work that way.

If you want a more senior role, you must claim your intention.

For many women, articulating their career ambitions can bring up fear and awkwardness. But like my client Cindy, who last week finally spoke with the CEO about her ambitions… the outcome of this conversation can set you up for a new level of career success.

5. Direct your development. If you have identified an area of development, ask for it. This might include an opportunity for secondment to another department, act in a more senior role to cover extended long service or maternity leave or enrolment in a professional development program.

Go prepared with a business case. Be clear on what the business will get from investing in your development and the value you will bring to the business through this opportunity.

As many of my clients who have received financial support to join The Leadership Connection (a women’s leadership development program) discovered, you will never get what you don’t ask for. Do your research; create a business case and ask for the development you really want.

So todays take home message is – this is your performance review.

Take control. Be prepared. And ask for what you want.

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