Prepare for “The Dance”


It’s time to prepare for “The Dance,” the comprehensive performance review and conversation.

Some organizations have adopted a more frequent, ongoing approach to performance conversations, opting for on-the-spot coaching and scheduled quarterly meetings.  If these conversations transform into an all-inclusive discussion at least annually, there are ways for staff members and managers to make “The Dance” a more meaningful experience.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”While your manager is one of your strong supporters, you are a vested owner in developing and tastefully marketing your value proposition – your professional brand and impact in the organization. ” quote=”While your manager is one of your strong supporters, you are a vested owner in developing and tastefully marketing your value proposition – your professional brand and impact in the organization. “]

Prepare to communicate how your performance positively contributed to business goals and objectives, while keeping an open mind to receive coaching and comments.

Consider this three-step action plan when preparing for your performance assessment:

Step 1:  Articulate your actions and accomplishments.

If you do not have a record of your results and actual business impacts, document the following:

  • What you did and when it happened
  • The partners/stakeholders you worked with on the actions
  • How the actions connected to the business goals and objectives
  • The quantitative or qualitative business impacts and outcomes
  • Lessons learned
  • The potential next step actions for greater business impact

This record becomes your reference tool for completing your self-assessment and engaging in meaningful conversation with your manager.

Step 2:  Assess your strengths and weaknesses.

If you have taken any type personality assessment, then you should have objective awareness of your strengths and weaknesses.  Without an assessment, develop a list of your skills and journal your activities for a short time to gain self-awareness.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I do with ease and generally achieve a good result?
  • For what am I most complimented? What skill does that translate to on my list?
  • In what skills or activities do I most struggle?
  • What skills or activities generate a positive emotion (energy) in me? Negative emotion (procrastination)?
  • What do I do significantly better in comparison to others? Struggle with in comparison to others?

Consider your own self-look and ask others you trust for insight to determine strengths  or developmental opportunities.

Step 3:  Actively Engage.

Document your contributions, assess your effectiveness in the role, and remain open to affirming and constructive feedback.

Commit to your own continuous personal growth:

  • Identify two or three self-improvement opportunities
  • Establish goals
  • Determine actions to take and then set timelines
  • Identify and engage an accountability partner
  • Evaluate success
  • Celebrate!

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Owning your professional development is non-negotiable.” quote=”Owning your professional development is non-negotiable.”] Feedback is a gift and the cornerstone for the performance review and conversation.  While your manager will give perspective, preparing in advance and being ready to engage in conversation sets you up with an edge.   Doing so changes the dynamics, making it a two-way conversation, one where your value to the organization is clearly evident and your commitment to your future is unquestioned.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.