So Mike’s annual review has been scheduled. He dreads this every year – going through the motions, ticking a box on his manager’s to-do list. Mike tends to leave the meeting feeling underwhelmed and without any new information.

If your annual review is happening around now and you sometimes feel like Mike, then you may want to consider how you can change that outcome and make it work for you. (We could discuss the value, or otherwise, of the whole annual appraisal process but that is a subject I will discuss in an upcoming blog!) For now, let’s see how you can take more control of your review. Whilst how your manager engages in this conversation will impact on the review, don’t leave the outcome of your review about your job and your future completely in someone else’s hands.

4 steps to take more control –

1 – Decide how you want to feel after your review meeting – that’s right – I did say feel. As human beings, our feelings impact how we behave so bringing a positive mindset into these conversations will increase the likelihood that they are a worthwhile experience for you. Make this something positive – e.g. I will feel energised to pursue my work or to develop my skills. I will feel driven to overcome any areas that have been a challenge in the past. Be mentally ready to get a worthwhile outcome by checking your mindset and beliefs.

2 – Think about your work over the last period of time. Write down the 3 things you did that you feel had the greatest positive impact on your goals and on your team. Think in particular of how you have overcome the challenges of Covid 19 to continue to be effective. Think of specific examples and note what you specifically did. If you have lots of examples of strengths that is great, but highlight which ones had the greatest impact. This will demonstrate the value you bring through your work. You may be asked in advance of your meeting to capture “what has gone well”. Use this approach to completing such requests. Be ready to share these activities and why you felt they were important.

3 – Identify any areas that have not gone as well as you would have liked. Rather than trying to gloss over these, identify how you can overcome the challenge in the coming period or what you learned from something that hasn’t gone as planned. Be ready to share your learning and planned actions.

4 – Think about your future – What do you want to be doing? What do you want to learn that will help you master your current role or to be ready for the next role? Research from the World Economic Forum – The Future of Jobs Report 2020 suggests that 50% of all employees will need upskilling by 2025. Don’t wait for a tap on the shoulder to tell you your skills are obsolete – take some control over your future now. Be ready to share what you are interested in and to ask for the help you would like.

“If you are not driving your own bus, you are a passenger on someone else’s”

Don’t set yourself up to feel like Mike after your review. Set yourself up to use this opportunity with your manager to set yourself on a path to making a positive contribution and having a positive future.

This is another small step in making your conversations worthwhile and impactful as we strive to help to build the person, build performance and build results.

Keep on building