Category Archives: Rising Talent Strategies

optimize performance reviews

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”

Boost Your Brand Image

Rising Talent Strategies – Boost Your Brand Image

In this series, we’ve been discussing the importance of self promotion at work and strategies you can use to boost your brand image. Get past the uncomfortable pit in your stomach or awkwardness when you begin to speak up about yourself.  You love being the center of attention in your social network.  So, put the “selfie” concept ‘to’ work ’at’ work.  Here are 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 first two posts in this series, you can check them out here: The Art of Self Promotion Part 1 and The Art of Self Promotion Part 2.

Boost Your Brand Image – Raise Your Hand And Get Involved  

Do you sometimes get comfortable staying to yourself? Or, maybe you feel like you have so much work to do, you don’t have time to do anything else. Keep this up, and you may have more time to yourself than you want. Getting involved is not optional. It’s essential.  That doesn’t mean you have to be involved in everything.  You can’t risk executing on your day-to-day accountabilities. Find ways to engage with others across the organization in your daily activities.  Be strategically selective.  The benefits far outweigh the extra effort.

Sheila I. with Brown-Forman Corporation shares this advice:

After working at MSD where we were actually encouraged to take a look at branding ourselves, I learned that getting involved helped others see my leadership qualities and abilities outside of the actual job that I had.  Coming to Brown-Forman you learned early that the company was about relationships and branding yourself.  My manager encouraged openness and stretching yourself. I quickly became involved in the company, which again allowed others to see the skills that I possessed outside of my position that I was hired to do. In essence “The Art of Self Promotion” is getting involved.” 

Sheila I., Brown-Forman Corp.

“I have been working to form cross-functional teams for exposure in other areas.  I also do benchmarking and share lessons learned with teams at other facilities.  I can raise my hand to lead teams and even create my own lean kaizen events.”  

Cynthia L.,

UTC Building & Industrial Systems

Be the Presenter

One of the greatest fears among people is the fear of public speaking.  Are you the person who feels their knees knocking and teeth chattering when you stand in front of a group?  Overcome the fear by gaining more knowledge, practice and experience.  Join a Toastmasters group.  Practice at home in front of the mirror.  Get a trusted colleague to help you practice and give you feedback.  Presenting provides similar benefits to getting involved – others are able to observe you in often a different context.  If you are well prepared and come across confidently, you can gain a level of respect as a subject matter expert or a leader.  Presenting can come in the form ofreviewing a report, giving a project or team update, or sharing a new idea.  You may present standing or sitting. You may present to a small or larger group. All of these situations count.

“I also take advantage of opportunities to present often in front of my manager and others.”

Cynthia L.,

UTC Building & Industrial Systems

“I use a PowerPoint presentation that is in the form of a Pecha Kucha.  It is a set of 20 slides that change themselves every 20 seconds.   It’s very effective.  It can be used to introduce a new idea or promote yourself and your services, or any topic that you want to share with others.  The nice thing about it is that the audience doesn’t really have a chance to get bored.

If you’re not familiar with it, here is a link to a website.

Beth W.

Humana Inc.

“I’m going to refer you to some points I got from a session I sat in yesterday at the Idea Festival.  From Joe McCormack, author of “Brief.

Here is what he had to say about sharing a message and promoting ideas (whatever thetopic):

  1. Lead with the headline  (What challenge do you need to share with others?)
  2. What idea do you have to address the challenge? (in other words, why are you bringing the challenge up in the first place)
  3. Explain how your idea (or what you have to offer) works
  4. Address any essential question that may remain about the product, service, self
  5. Stop talking

Joe’s point is that when you want to promote something in this vastly saturated market where people are tired of hearing “just one more thing,” the way to stand out is to be brief — not to the point of not really saying anything, but by honing in on your key points and trimming away excess.”

Chandra I.

Irvin, Goforth & Irvin, LLC


Boost Your Brand Image By Focusing On Execution – Your “What” & “How”

We tend to think of execution related to our jobs as simply coming to work every day, going to meetings, and checking off tasks on our to-do list.  But in the context of moving your career forward, think of execution as both the “what” you do and “how high” you can perform.  Leaders are looking for talent who “gives 100 percent every time,” can “always get the job done,” “plays to win,” has the “mental focus and toughness,” is “dependable,” and “knows how to hit the numbers.”  When it comes to evaluating execution, five primary high-performance standards represent the characteristics leaders look for when they promote or hire employees.

  • Problem Solver – Are you proactive in solving problems, or do you tend to point out problems and whine about them?
  • Accountable – Do you take full accountability for your areas of responsibility, good or bad?
  • Consistently Exceeds Expectations – Do you consistently go above and beyond what’s expected of you?
  • Get Things Done – Are you the go-to person who the organization can count on to get things done?
  • Customer-focused – Are you an advocate for your customers – ensuring there’s an outside-in, reality-based perspective driving priorities and decisions?

Vivian Blade

FuelForward Book – Chapter Five FuelForward Foundation: Execution

For more details on these five high-performance standards, Chapter Five pp. 50 – 55.

“More than anything, I try to allow my track record to speak for itself, working to make sure that I am a solid performer and team-player, focusing on the ethical good of the whole (organization) and not just the needs of the few or the one.  I will say that I have learned – primarily due to confidence built based on years of experience and additional training – to speak up when there is knowledge I believe would be valuable or in which I have some area of expertise.” 

Diana W.

University of Louisville

S. Harper with Humana Inc. encourages professionals to:

  • “Be accountable, consistent
  • Be able to not only ask questions but provide the answers
  • Gain as much industry knowledge as possible
  • Try to go above and beyond expectations so you’re seen as a valuable contributor
  • Gain visibility beyond peers”


Add these self-promotion strategies to your toolkit.  Which ones are you going to try?

Read Part 4 Of “The Art Of Self Promotion”