Rising Talent Strategies – Optimize Performance Reviews

How do you optimize performance reviews so that you present your results to promote yourself in your annual review?

Here are even more best practices from my personal experience and network of successful professionals who were eager to share their advice.  Thanks, again, to those of you who shared your ideas!

If you missed the prior posts in this series, you can check them out here: Seflie Promotion Part 1,  Selfie Promotion Part 2, and Selfie Promotion Part 3.

Optimize Performance Reviews

Be more proactive in leveraging your performance review as a way to toot your horn.  Don’t be so modest as you write and discuss your accomplishments.  Make sure you articulate your personal contributions toward successful outcomes.

Be intentional about adding value every day so that you have a number of positive contributions to share.

“I look for opportunities to contribute…to fill a need…or to make my bosses job easier.  Then, I strive for excellent results, and when the time is right, communicate those results in a confident, yet humble, manner.  Over time, other leaders and members of the executive team come to rely upon, and have confidence in, my team’s ability to accomplish projects and generate results.”

Dale S., The Kroger Company

Prepare for the discussion – Keep track of your accomplishments over the course of the year.  Use the template that I discussed from Marie R. in the second post in this series.  Organize your accomplishments based on how you’ve added value to the important priorities for your team and the organization.

Lead the discussion – Ask your boss if you can begin the discussion with your contributions to the team over the past year.  You should go first.

Highlight team & personal accomplishments – As part of a team, you want to give credit where credit is due.  But, make sure you give yourself some credit.  Performance reviews aren’t about the team.  Teams don’t get promoted or fired.  Individuals do.  Highlight how you contributed to the team’s success.

“I never forget to give credit where it’s due.  I believe humbleness, and grace, are as important as confidence.”

Dale S., The Kroger Company

Get constructive behavioral feedback – When discussing your development areas, ask for examples or situations where specific behaviors were observed.  Ask your boss to debrief a particular meeting, presentation, interaction, etc.  Ask for suggestions on what you might have done differently to get a better outcome.  Don’t forget to get feedback on the things you do well, too.

Reach and Relationships

Always be networking – internal and external

Careers are a lot like political campaigns.  You have to reach a target audience of leaders and other professionals to make them aware of who you are and the brand you represent. And, you have to remain visible. Make connections both internal and external to your current organization.  You never know where future opportunities may come from, or whom you can help in some way.

“What worked for me in terms of promoting myself was to always be networking.  This included membership in professional organizations in my own field and in vertical markets where I had expertise or wanted to gain some contacts.”

Bill B., Omega Management Group

“I often take trips to corporate or other locations where most of our employees are located.  Being in a remote office, it’s important for people to see me – so I have formal and informal conversations discussing the work we are doing and progress we are making.  These are great opportunities to promote your work and successes.”

Melanie S., Neustar, Inc.

Who Knows You

Building rapport & relationships with others is essential. This takes time and is earned. Reach out to get to know professionals in your network. Engage with others informally by taking advantage of hallway conversations.  Even a ‘hello’ and taking a minute to find out ‘what’s going on’ will show your interest in the other person. In turn, they’ll ask you to share what’s going on with you.

“Remember, your brand is represented by the track record of your execution and your character, and the impression you make as people observe and interact with you.  Leaders make most hiring and promotion decisions based on whom they know, what they know about them, and what they believe to be their potential.  Similar to politicians, you have to take advantage of opportunities to build connections, to expand your Reach so you’re on their minds when career-related decisions are made. Reach opens the door for greater awareness of your capabilities and skills in adding business value.”

Vivian Hairston Blade

FuelForward: Discover Proven Practices to Fuel Your Career Forward, Chapter 7,  p. 116

“When new leaders join the company – get on their calendar within the first 30 days.  This gives you an opportunity to position the value you and your team bring to the organization along with some things you could insert for them to help you with.

Connect your work to the corporate strategy – it’s important that you link what you do to the priorities of the company and speak about it that way.”

Melanie S., Neustar, Inc

Culture Plays a Role

As a leader, create an environment in your workplace where employees can feel comfortable sharing their contributions.  Create opportunities for the exchange, both formal and informal, and both with you and with the team.  This cross-sharing can benefit your organization in several ways.  You’ll grow a culture of openness, collaboration and creativity.  Your employee turnover rates are also likely to improve.

“I work with a group that seems to understand my worth. I don’t like to take that for granted and always check to see if my skill set could be an asset for them. Serve others, help them, be a good partner, let them drive and advocate for what they are doing and chances are that good stuff will come right back to you.”

Patrick. S., Fourth Wall Murals

Read Part 5 Of “The Art Of Self Promotion”


She’s a woman on a mission, prepped and ready to help you create resilient leaders and a workplace that is poised to succeed. Having weathered her fair share of corporate and career crises of all sizes, Vivian Blade MBA, MBB, PMP, is a global leadership expert and thought leader who equips leaders with the resilience that inspires teams to recover quickly in the face of ongoing disruption and thrive in spite of insurmountable odds.

Vivian empowers leaders and organizations as a frequent keynote speaker for association conferences and in delivering transformative leadership development programs, executive coaching and consulting for corporations.

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