performance

Do You Provide “Strategic Snapshots” of Your Performance?

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If you’re like most people, you have a sense of what you want to accomplish when each day begins—and then the day “happens.” You may get diverted by unplanned issues and be left wondering, “What the heck happened?!”

No matter what is going on in your day, I urge you to think about the countless opportunities you have to showcase what you’re doing to add value and make a difference. I like to call this providing “strategic snapshots” of your performance. In my signature presentation “Getting the Visibility You Want” (aka, “Tastefully Tooting Your Own Horn”) and in my coaching, I offer a range of strategies on how to do this in a way that works for you.

Before I dive into giving you my tips, I want you to consider the following points as important context.

  • We are all busy—usually too busy to notice how others are adding value and contributing on a day-to-day basis.

It’s not that we don’t want to notice; it’s just that our attention is divided. And your boss is probably no different from you in this respect. So, you have to help your boss notice how you’re making a difference. I’d like to say a mid-year or year-end discussion as part of your formal performance management process is enough—but it just isn’t. When I led Performance Management & Career Planning at Deloitte, I came to fully appreciate how often people are out of sync with their boss’s view of their performance.

  • This isn’t about bragging.

At the end of the day, this is about sharing important information that can add value to your company and shape the direction of your career. Remember that as someone who has a personal stake in your performance and development, your boss needs to know how and what you’re doing. And others in the company can benefit from learning about how you overcame specific challenges and what led to your success.

So, here are three suggestions on how to provide “strategic snapshots” of your performance:

1. Be clear about what you want to be known for.

Your desired brand/reputation serves as important context and a filter for what to share with others. So, take the time to get clear about the 2-3 things you want people to think of when they think of you. This isn’t about trying to be someone you’re not. It’s about helping others understand what differentiates you and why that matters.

2. Notice the opportunities in front of you.

Before you go into a meeting, have a call with someone, or write an email, ask yourself, “How can I demonstrate how I’m adding value, or reinforce my desired brand in this interaction?” Every interaction may not afford this opportunity, but asking yourself this question will lead you to provide “strategic snapshots” of your performance more often.

3. Find an approach that fits your style.

As you know, some people have no problem telling others how they are adding value while others struggle because they don’t want to come across as arrogant, or self-promotion doesn’t fit with their cultural norms. So, don’t just adopt someone else’s approach. Take the time to think about what fits your personal style.

As a first step, think about a couple of accomplishments you’d like to share and how and why they have relevance and value to others. By going through this thought process you will present the information differently—less like bragging and more like information that others really need to know.

Remember that it’s up to you to consistently share and reinforce what you want others to know about your contributions (i.e., provide “strategic snapshots” of your performance) no matter how your day unfolds. And it doesn’t have to involve a huge effort or time commitment. You should know my mantra by now: “Small steps can lead to big results.”

Three Keys to Peak Performance

Since I just completed my new self-paced coaching program, which is all about peak performance, I can’t get the topic off my mind. As you know there are several things that come into play when you want to really step up your game and take your performance to the next level. I have chosen three to get your wheels turning.

1. Focusing on the right work

Many of us get sidetracked by all the things we need to respond to each day – even when we know not all of it is critical or impactful. Keep in mind that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort, so imagine what might be possible if you could consistently focus on what matters the most. I have a whole module dedicated to this topic in my self-paced coaching program and consistently spend time on this with every client, given its importance.

So, take a minute right now to identify the three areas where you can have the biggest impact in your role – what I like to call the “Big 3.” Having clarity about this will help you make more deliberate choices about how you invest your time and energy.

2. Managing your mindset

How you “show up” each day and respond to what’s happening around you can dramatically help or hinder your progress - and ultimately your results. This year, I will be collaborating with Dr. Paul Stoltz who is a global thought leader on resilience and works with leaders to respond to challenges and adversity in a way that elevates and sustains individual and team performance. His company has done over 25 years of research in this area and has documented the financial impact of implementing their tools and techniques. As you might suspect, it all begins with managing your mindset. If you haven’t seen Paul’s work, check out his latest book The Adversity Advantage.

3. Defining success

Finally, high performers are notorious for expecting a lot of themselves but not always recognizing what they’ve accomplished. Have you defined success for yourself so you’ll know when you’ve gotten “there?” Taking a few minutes to do this will help you notice your progress, more easily share it with key stakeholders, and celebrate your successes.

So, this week, I would encourage you to take one action step in one of the three areas above – whether it’s defining your Big 3, thinking about your mindset, or defining what success looks like for you over the next six months. Just remember that half the battle is just getting started. What small step will you take?