My observation that no one knows you better than you do doesn’t come from years of scientific study. It comes from more than a decade of working one on one with clients and helping them build self-awareness. When I ask my clients, “Who knows you best?” what do you think they say? It is always, always, the same answer: “I do.”
It is important to recognize that visibility and value are deeply symbiotic in your organization and industry. You already know that professional risks exist for busy business professionals who are invisible or undervalued in their organization. You do not want to be visible without providing value, and it is hard to demonstrate the value that you provide if you are invisible.
Research tells us that how we define something dictates the activities we subscribe to it. There is a famous example from the turn of the 19th century that illustrates this point. In an effort to change how the public perceived his company, the president of a railroad company declared, “We are not a train company – we are a transportation company!” Suddenly, by viewing his organization as a provider of transportation and not just an owner of trains, he created new customer perspectives and business opportunities.
How do you know if your organization has a performance management system? Once a year, your boss is thrust into the dreaded “performance management cycle.” There he is required to complete numerous performance appraisals. Many managers rush to complete their appraisals en masse the Sunday night before the appraisals are due. While most of their ratings are influenced by the rankings and bell-curve pre-established by the organization. Upon the completion of an exhausting approval process, he finally schedules a meeting with you. Following the meeting, you rush back to your cubicle, call your significant other and exclaim, “I got a 3.5 on collaboration!”
History will not be kind to the performance appraisal. After decades of lackluster experiences, stale formats, and non-existent correlations between assessment and achievement, most savvy business leaders and modern management experts would tell you that the performance appraisal is a well-intended yet failed exercise in behavior modification.
Now that you have your value meeting scheduled with your boss, what are you going to say? Here are some suggested talking points to help keep you on track and to make sure you cover the most important areas.
When you’re ready to have a value meeting with your boss, you can follow certain steps to ensure that you have a productive conversation. Most organizations across the globe are not having this type of discussion, so it really helps to have a plan in place and all your ducks in a row.