One of my daughters could be with friends at school having the best time. Yet, when asked, “How was it,” or, “How was your day?” she will sometimes start with all of the things that went wrong or tell us the things she did not get the chance to do when they were together. Beyond the guilt staring me in the face at the idea that some of my negativity and cynicism had rubbed off on her, I realized there was a different approach to steer the conversation down a more positive path. I found success when asking her different questions, such as, “What was your favorite part of the day?” My previous generic questions had allowed her to start the conversation with a sour taste. The more targeted question with the positive overtones maneuvered the conversation to a better place from the beginning. Many times, the conversation ended positively because so much time and energy were dedicated to telling me what went right.
I invest time in my thirty-minute commute home daily to ask myself what went right and what was the day’s biggest accomplishment? Success breeds success. I often document the successes when I get home. If an accomplishment is meaningful enough to write down, I will add it to my accomplishments folder or type it directly into my next performance appraisal self-assessment the next day.
I have time dedicated to my calendar monthly to organize my accomplishments. You can never be too busy to set aside time to pat yourself on the back every once in a while. I am not talking about hours of time. I am talking about a couple of minutes to write down a quick note, and then move on with your day. I’ve had many managers tell me how detailed my performance appraisals were. It comes across as a complete work that is often perceived to take hours of time when in reality, it is a simple routine that is pure brain dumping based on my wins.
I have also heard many peers complain when it was time to complete their own performance appraisals because they couldn’t remember what they had accomplished, or didn’t know where they would find the time needed to put it all together. They always said that the deadline was fast approaching, and the procrastination had already caught up. I simply proofread and edit my performance appraisal self-assessment prior to the deadline and send it on. You might surprise yourself with the amount of work you have accomplished in that short period of time that you may have previously forgotten. You also get the benefit of reminding yourself of the many things you have done right.
If you do have people working for you or with you, and you are part of the sit-down, performance appraisal discussion, here is the next logical move: conduct the same routine for others that you do for yourself. Invest that same amount of time in keeping ongoing notes of your team’s accomplishment for your input on their performance appraisals. Accomplishments for you and your people are often synonymous, due to the teamwork needed. The simple routine of maintaining detailed and noteworthy accomplishments and events gives you the chance to provide deserving people with the recognition they deserve. I have found that many of the details are forgotten by my team and are appreciated when they see that I didn’t forget. Additionally, you lose the stress at performance appraisal time of a looming deadline ahead, since you are well prepared. Dedicating a small amount of time on a regular basis to tell yourself and people you work with that they are good at what they do allows you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You simply proofread, edit, and send it on its way in a timely fashion to the people who need to know “what went right.”
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com. Book, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only) purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com