strategic

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.”

Are You Being Strategic About Relationships?

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I get asked all the time about how to build a strong network of advocates. Advocates are people with power and influence who can give you important exposure, shield you from negative consequences and criticism, and recommend you for new positions or visible assignments.

If you aren’t paying attention to building these relationships, here are three steps to help you be more strategic about your approach:

1. With whom do you want to cultivate relationships?

In the context of your professional goals, identify the top three people with whom you need to develop stronger relationships. They may be people you don’t know at all or individuals who have had some exposure to you. Often they can be people who already have a positive impression of you, but you haven’t asked them to take any action on your behalf in the past. Be specific about what you would want them to do on your behalf and make it easy for them to do so. Come prepared with the right information.

2. What would success look like for your next conversation with them?

What would you want to have as the outcome of that conversation? How do you want to “show up”? In other words, think about any aspects of your brand that you’d want to focus on or what you would want them to know about you. Think about not only your key strengths, but also experiences and results. For example, if you want to come across as competent, you can do that through the quality and caliber of the questions you ask in addition to the types of examples you share about the work you’ve done. Figure out what approach works best for you.

3. What can you offer them?

Offer them something of value. For example, you might be able to share articles or other resources relevant to their interests or specific challenges they’re facing. You may have contacts with similar interests who might be beneficial for them to know. You may be able to give them exposure by inviting them to speak or be on a panel in a professional association that you participate in. Or you may be able to invite them to an event that would be of interest to them.

One of the most important things to remember is to be consistent. Allocate time to cultivate these relationships each month. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming. The key is to stay top of mind so that when opportunities do arise they will think of you. So, what step will you take this week to put this into play? Remember that small steps can lead to big results.

 

© 2012 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.