Are you ready for next year’s performance review cycle?

Part 2 of 3

I kicked off this series on preparing for next year’s performance reviews with my first suggestion – have a monthly 1:1 with your manager, dedicated to your performance and career.

Now, onward to my second suggestion:

Businessman running with briefcase

Suggestion 2 of 3:

Document your monthly performance reviews like a monthly diary.

I suggest writing down whatever you’ve discussed with your manager regarding your performance somewhere – a notebook or a Google doc, for example. Keep it lightweight – limit it to one page or less, but don’t scrimp too much on the details. At the end of a year, you should have a page for each month.

Your diary should have pertinent details over time. Write down things that you’ve learned and how you’ve leveraged them in your job. Chronicle what you’ve accomplished and achieved, including the resulting outcomes of your efforts. 

Most people focus on outputs: “did X number of code reviews” or “launched Y version of the product with these features” or “mentored two new hires and an intern.” These outputs may look useful, but what’s better is to write down the outcomes. How did your code reviews help the team? Were your team members’ skills up-leveled? The new features you released – how did those impact customer retention, or how did that increase sales opportunities? Having these outcomes shows your impact and can be used to highlight achievements for possible promotions.

And – depending on what your company uses – write your goals down in these monthly diary entries. Write down your OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) or MBOs (Management by Objectives) in your monthly diary entries. 

More important than the goal, though, is the journey you’re going to take in the next year to meet this goal. Just as a long road trip from San Francisco to New York City requires you to map out your routes and where you’ll stop along the way, your goal should have a possible journey that can show progress stops. 

Having these journey stops mapped out in your diary shows how you’re going to achieve your goal. And – like a road trip – you can always change the route along the way, or even the end destination – depending on how the year unfolds. You might want to end up in Boston instead of New York City, for example.

I hope this second suggestion has started the gears of your mind moving along. I would love to hear any intriguing thoughts you may have about this.

In the meantime, until the next newsletter, cheers!


Are you ready for next year’s performance review cycle?

Part 1 of 3

So, are you ready for next year’s performance review cycle? We’ve all been living with a pandemic for a majority of this year, with almost everyone working remotely. The usual visual cues of physically seeing people at work are out the door. Which begs the question – do people “see” how you’re performing in this new world of virtual work? Remember the saying – out of sight, out of mind. Will that come to haunt you come performance review time in 2021?

I have three suggestions for you so that you’re more prepared. These suggestions should help come performance review time next year. (I’m making an assumption you’re company’s performance review cycle happens during the first quarter of every year.)

Businessman ready to sprint on starting line

Suggestion 1 of 3:

Each month, dedicate one of your 1:1s with your manager to lightweight performance discussions.

Your performance review relies on what your manager says and writes. Most people receive feedback very late, given that the performance cycle happens once a year. The only time you receive immediate feedback is usually when something negative comes up. And generally, under these circumstances, you might be put on a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan). 

Good, consistent performance is seldom brought up. Or if it does get brought up, it’s usually spoken in general terms. And depending on how many people report to your manager, your manager may not necessarily see or bring these up regularly.

Most good managers I know have regularly scheduled one-on-ones – either weekly or bi-weekly. So, dedicate one of these meetings each month to talk about your performance – both good and bad, so that you get time-appropriate feedback immediately.

Your manager might be surprised if you bring this up since he/she/they might not be used to having these discussions out of cycle. Let them know the benefits. One of the universal pain points of yearly performance discussions is the recency effect – people can only remember the last two months, maybe three at best.

Well, that’s it for this week’s newsletter. I hope this first part intrigues you, and that you’re looking forward to my next newsletter. In the meantime, feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about this first suggestion.




Apologies, I have not been posting anything the past few weeks. I’ve been hit with a double whammy. One is that I’ve been attending with several engaging webinars and MeetUps. The other is that I’ve had to debug my website. One of the plugin updates caused some javascript problems that prevented me from creating or editing blog posts or pages. I have since disabled the offending plugin while I get support.

Image of DASH Mural

One of the fabulously fun and engaging sessions that kept me busy was the 5-day DASH Demo led byRobert Skrobe. He’s one excellent Design Guru. He created DASH, a mash-up of Alberto Savoia’s pretotyping (see his book, The Right It), his mathematics behind probabilistic success, and Design Sprints. It’s a fantastic way to see if your start-up idea might just fly with actual data to back it up. With DASH, you don’t go entirely with gut feel only – you run a lightweight signal test, get user feedback, and through statistics, see how viable your idea actually is. Doing this can help you decide if your idea is worth pursuing, pivoting, or discarding – depending on the results of the signals.

The five days I spent with a few other participants provided Robert with enough feedback to finalize the Mural templates and the instructions or process of running a DASH. The templates should be out on creative commons soon for people to use.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in seeing what transpired in the five-day session I went through, click on the playlist below (each video in the list is about 1.5 hours long, FYI).

And if you want me to run one with you, please let me know. I’m more than happy to facilitate one with you and your team.​  I just ran a session with a client of mine, and they liked the whole endeavor. We’re now building something out and seeing what the signals return to us.