Mr. Miyagi, Rocky Balboa and your performance review

March 17, 2011

Marketing, Public relations

A performance review is your chance to show how you prepared yourself to reach the top of the mountain...and knock out a 7-foot Russian boxer.









A root canal, waxing on and off all day long on Mr. Miyagi’s yellow car and running up that huge, snowy mountain in Russia just to yell “Drago!” What do these three things all have in common? They all generally sound more enjoyable than doing a performance review.

And yet, we have to do them. We need to do them. What do we tell our clients is the key to evaluating the successes and failures of their campaign? Goals, measurable objectives and a strategy and tactics to help them get there. Your performance review isn’t all that different. And if you’re not looking at what you did, have done and could be doing at least a couple of times a year, then one thing is for sure — you won’t be able to beat any Russian boxer who’s never been cut or a blond punk from Raseda who likes to sweep the leg.

Setting goals and objectives

So where do you start? Well, the performance review actually begins 6-12 months before the actual review takes place when you lay out your initial performance plan. Ask yourself “What do you want to do?” Combine those answers with what do you need to do to make your business or job function run smoothly and you’ll be at a good starting point. Set some high-level goals like:

  • Earn a promotion
  • Manage a successful holiday campaign
  • Avenge Apollo’s death
  • Be seen as a social media thought leader by my colleagues
  • Achieve profitability

Then, don’t forget to attach measurable objectives to those goals. Remember, measurable objectives need to have a number when at all possible. Those numbers are going to make it a lot easier to track your success when you do the actual review part. They might look like this:

  • Bring on 3 new clients in 2011
  • Earn 50 blog placements from targeted, influential bloggers for the holiday campaign
  • TKO Russian boxer no one thought you could beat in the 15th round
  • Work on 3 client social media education projects, do 2 internal social media education lunch and learns and receive positive feedback from 75 percent of colleagues in 360 review
  • Reach $500,000 in sales

Mid-year review and re-evaluation

This part is much easier said than done. You’re busy. Running around the office with your hair on fire, trying to meet all your client’s needs, find time to help your colleagues better understand social media and learn to do a crane kick. Spare time to review goals and objectives can be hard to uncover.

But you’ve got to try. Maybe it’s during your regular meetings with your supervisor. Or perhaps you do your own quarterly check and only bring it up to your boss if you notice red flags. But don’t just let your plan sit there for 12 months without revisiting it. And when you do find the time, here’s what you’re looking for:

  • Do these goals and objectives still make sense based on my current job responsibilities?
  • Are these goals and objectives realistic?
  • Do you need to add anything to your list that you weren’t aware of when you first created your plan?

The actual review

Since you did all that work during the year, you might as well get credit for knocking it out of the park. Plus, this is one of the documents most companies look at when deciding if you deserve a promotion. The review process includes three key components:

  • Your review of yourself. This is where you go back and note that you surpassed all those measurable objectives you set. Yelling “Adrian!” is optional.
  • Your supervisor’s review of your performance. Here’s where your boss completes a review of you and tells you whether he/she also thinks you knocked it out of the park and are now able to catch a fly in chop sticks on the first try.
  • 36o feedback. IMO, this is the most important part. What do your colleagues and clients think of your work? Do they see value in what you bring to the table? Some of the measurable goals and objectives you initially set should be dependent on the answers to these questions — e.g. the social media thought leader goal.

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? That’s because it is. But you have to make sure all the rest of the work you’re doing is for a reason and that you have an end goal in site. And if it helps, you can totally buy yourself a cool belt and robe to denote you did what you set out to do.

You just might want to find one that looks more like a dress belt than the karate or heavyweight championship version. Unless you plan to only bust it out on jeans Fridays.

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