Three Steps to Performance Review Prep

Windy Warner, President of Procoach offers her advice for how to get the most out of your performance review.

Help! How should I prep for my upcoming performance review?

Coach: Windy Warner, President, Procoach

Always review your established performance goals a few days prior to the meeting. This gives you time to gather information about your accomplishments that you don't have on hand. When reviewing goals, identify those you completed, including measurable results, and those you did not complete. If you did not complete any goals for legitimate reasons, identify why and what you will do to bring them to completion. Be objective and truthful. Put yourself in your manager's shoes; look at things from his or her perspective.

Write this evaluation down and bring it with you to the meeting so you're not relying on your memory. At the end of the review, thank your manager for his or her time and ask what more you can do to increase your contribution to the organization.

Sometimes your performance plan is stated broadly without specific and clear expectations. In these instances, you should identify your specific accomplishments and results and present these during the review. If your current performance plan is not specific, make sure the next one is. If your manager doesn't delineate specific goals, do it yourself and ask for comments, alterations and agreement.

Never make excuses for not meeting a goal. Admit you didn't get it done and state what you will do to achieve the goal. If you don't agree with your manager's assessment, never argue. If you start feeling defensive, back off—your emotions will get the better of you, and arguing won't change your manager's mind. It will only make him or her angry or uncomfortable, neither of which are good for you. If you think you have a truly valid position, suggest another time to review the issue. Then objectively evaluate what was said. If you still disagree—for reasons other than your ego—revisit it when you can keep your cool.

Windy Warner works with CIOs and IT managers to improve their image as business professionals. She can be reached at windy@coachwindy.com.

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