Are You Letting Your Team Outgrow Their Past?

Most leaders mature (and yes, that’s me on the right). And yet, often when someone has been with the company for a long time, it’s their old image that sticks. Be sure you’re helping your team outgrow their past.

I’ve seen too many companies go “in search of” the ideal candidate, hire them, and then find they had the right guy all along (after the first one didn’t work out). In fact, I’ve been that guy.

This post was inspired by a recent post by Dan Rockwell encouraging his readers to overcome their past. Brilliant insights. As I was reading it, my heart felt heavy for all the leaders I know who are desperately trying to escape their past and can’t grow beyond their early reputations.

“The past is a weight that grows heavier with the passage of time. Little mistakes grow larger. Offenses get heavier. Failures persecute.” -Dan Rockwell

Most leaders mature. And yet, often when someone has been with the company for a long time it’s their old image that sticks.

Be brave enough to see who’s really showing up.

Anticipate maturity and watch it florish.

Don’t miss out on the most fun part of being a leader– watching others grow.

Be an advocate.

Don’t overlook the game changers who were once young, naive and a little overly _________(brash, politically inept, unconfident, overconfident).

You were too.

Who do you need to give a second chance to?

What are you going to do this year to take your leadership development program to the next level? Call me at 443-750-1249 for a free consultation.

7 Ways to Show Your Team You Trust Them

Trust begets trust. The best way to get your team to trust you is to trust them. Hire for trust. Require trust. Rid your team of untrustworthy players. And then, show your team how much you trust them. Here’s how.

7 Ways to Show Your Team You Trust Them

1. Set Audacious Goals

Oh sure your team may grumble. But there’s no greater gift you can give your team than leading them toward head-turning results. Set the bar high and then look them in the eye, “I believe in you. I know what this team is capable of. Now let’s figure out just how, together.” Show trust by believing it’s possible.

2. Tell The Truth

Even when it’s hard.  Don’t sugarcoat the bad news. Play it straight. Show trust by treating them like grown-ups.

3. Invite Them To Come Along

I’ll never forget of my best first bosses, Gail. She would constantly take me along to senior level meetings, arguing that “no one could explain it better” than I could. Of course that wasn’t true, she was one of the most gifted explainers I know. But she trusted I would do okay, and was secure enough to give up the spotlight. I’ve been amazed at how many bosses are afraid to give such opportunities to their team. Show trust by sharing the stage.

4. Admit What You Don’t Know

Show your team you trust them by admitting you don’t have all the answers. Trust them with your concerns. Trust them with your questions. Show trust by being real.

5. Encourage Them to Meet Without You

This one took me a minute to get used to (you can read about that here), but a great way to show trust in your team is to give them a big hairy problem and ask them to meet to figure it out. Make sure that any information and parameters they may need gets out of your head and into theirs first, otherwise they’ll spin their wheels. Show trust by getting out of the way.

6. Tell Them

This one might seem obvious or even silly, but I guarantee it can’t hurt. Can you imagine how good it would feel to hear, “I really trust you because_________.” Show trust by telling them why.

7. Forgive Them

If your team screws up, talk about it, help them learn, and then move on. Show trust by letting it go.

PrintTrust Across America has once again released their list of Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trusted Business Behavior. See the list (and lots of other great content) in their lastest online issue of Trust Magazine. I feel very honored and humbled to be included with such amazing trust leaders.

Are you looking to build greater trust with your team? I’d love to help. Give me a call at 443-750-1249 for a free consultation.

Who Do You Trust? An Easy Team Exercise

“Do you trust me?” What a loaded question. It’s tough, even with people we love. “Sure, I trust you to be faithful, but do I trust you’ll remember to pick up the dry cleaning?” Even small actions can build or diminish trust over time.

Defining the behaviors that breed trust can go a long way in encouraging more of the good stuff on teams. Let’s have some fun with this easy trust building exercise.

An Easy Team Trust Exercise

Materials Needed:

for the initial conversation

  • yellow sticky notes
  • a wall or white board
  • easel paper and markers

to make it last

  • an artist (if you don’t have one on your team, you can find one online for a reasonable price. Joy Guthrie does a nice job. Or you can find other creative help on Fiverr)
  • a laminator

Process:

  1. Ask each team member to write down what they consider their own most trustworthy characteristics, one per sticky note (e.g. set clear expectations, tell the truth, follow-through). They can come up with as many examples as they like. Don’t skip this step, introspection is an important part of the process.
  2. Ask each person to share three of their trustworthy characteristics with the group. Some discussion may occur naturally here. Allow that to happen.
  3. Have each team member place their sticky notes on the wall or white board, and begin to group them into similar clusters.
  4. Identify the themes and write them on the easel paper.
  5. Now the fun part: have the team design their ideal trusted team member. For now this can be just a stick figure with labels, but encourage the team to get creative (e.g. sincere eyes, strong arms for heavy lifting, transparent heart). Name this little guy, or gal (e.g, Trusted Tracy).
  6. To keep the conversation going, have an artistic team member (or rent some help online) draw up the caricature of your ideal trusted team member (with labels highlighting the characteristics). Laminate the caricature (like your very own team Flat Stanley)
  7. When your team comes together for team meetings or other events, find time to ask who wins the “Trusted Tracy” award? And why. This is a great way for people to nominate and highlight the trusted behaviors that are happening on the team. Team members can do a casual “vote” to select a winner, and that person gets to hold on to “Tracy” in his or her cube or office until the next time. This works for virtual teams as well, just take a pic and turn it into an email-able image.

Let’s have some fun ourselves! Send me your ideas for building our own Trusted Tracy, and we’ll turn it into pic. If there are artists out there who want to play, I’ll include them in the post as well. Let’s have a big LGL Friday virtual team builder Even if you’ve never commented before, this is an easy time to chime in.

Thanks for all your contributions!  Here’s our composite (click to see a bigger version).

TrustedTracy(800x600)

Another Way to Outsmart the Competition

The hard-sell is so old school. Anyone with a passing interest in what you’re saying has 17 ways to get 17 different perspectives on what you’re saying in 17 seconds.  Your customers and employees have become conditioned to respond to any hard sell with a Google search for the truth.

The minute the Google-search has begun, you’ve inadvertently outsourced your explaining authority to the vortex.

And yet, the world continues to be filled with executives over-selling their vision, recruiters over-selling unrealistic lifestyles, and salespeople overselling features and benefits. More than ever, telling the whole truth has become a competitive advantage.

Outsmart the competition by being an explainer.

3 Ways to Outsmart the Competition by Being an Explainer

This is part 2 of 7 ways to outsmart the competition. If you missed #1 “Getting There Early.” Click here.

Great leaders are amazing explainers. They go slow to go fast. They take time to explain their ideas, perspective and values. They welcome the tough questions and the slippery slopes. They go there.

1. In Marketing: Teach Before Selling

So many people ask me why I give away so much content. I’ve been told “I don’t understand your model” more than once. But the companies who work with me get it.

My mission to grow leaders is vital. If you really can’t pay, you still need this, and I will share for free. I also know that the best work I do is face-to-face, helping you and your team go deeper. The deeper magic happens when we explore your world together.

I encourage you to adopt a similar approach. No matter what your mission, be a teacher. Help people understand the industry, their environment and what they don’t know. Give boldly. Important work will follow. If it doesn’t, improve your message.

2. In Recruiting: Give a Realistic Perspective

I was shocked to hear one of my MBA students come back disillusioned from a recent sales pitch of one of the big consulting firms. It was the exact same pitch I rejected 20 years ago. The story was “work-life balance.” The label I heard back then was “more nights home than away” (which I soon found out counted weekends, vacation, and holiday… essentially 4 nights of every workweek away.) Today, all it took was a few quick searches to hear the real message “We make it easy for you to hire people to raise your children, clean your house, say your prayers and do your gardening. You won’t have time.”

3. In Engaging Commitment: Tell The Truth

For God’s sake (and everyone else’s), don’t BS. If you are in a conference room trying to spin an uncomfortable message and your heart is sagging, listen to the voice. Your team will see right through any spin you are weaving. Do your best to tell the truth with the best words you can muster. If there’s still stuff you can’t share, whatever you do don’t lie about the future. You will win hearts, minds, and engaged arms and legs by telling the truth at every juncture. I’ve made a career of telling bad news well. Nothing opens the door for true engagement better than that.

Why HR Gets a Bad Name

I’ve been noticing a pattern with some of my clients when I utter the word “HR”–the proverbial eye roll. “What does HR say?” Queue the eye roll. “I think an important next step would be to bring HR on board.” An eye roll rapidly followed by, “Do we have to?” Now before I completely tick off the entire SHRM organization, please know I’m on your side.

I spent the first decade of my career in HR. I spent the next decade keeping my HR and Finance partners as close as possible. In fact, my support team was so valuable in my sales exec role, I gave up revenue generating headcount to build critical staff support functions.

4 Reasons HR Gets a Bad Rap

So if you’re an awesome strategic partner full of confident humility and strategic vision, with a seat at the table, and focused on business results, please comment and share your secret.

If you’re in HR and not getting the respect you want, or if you’ve suffered through a bad HR experience, please share your words of wisdom as well.

1. Weak Talent

Of course this is a real head scratcher that can damage the credibility of the entire HR organization. The HR (or training) organization becomes the dumping ground for people who struggled to “carry a bag” in the sales function or meet their P & L in an executive role. After all they’ve “always been good with people,” so someone “saves” them by moving them to an HR role where they can do “less harm.”

Of course no one says any of this out loud, but the masses are watching. Your A players are watching the most closely, so if this is the game, you can bet your 9 box performance potential grid, they’ll have no interest in an HR assignment, even to round out their resume.

You need YOUR BEST players managing your people strategy, not your leftovers. And even letting one or two mediocre players hang on diminishes credibility for an organization proposing candidates or offering advice on performance management.

2. Disconnected Metrics

If the most important HR metrics are anything other than tangible business results, you’ll never be a serious strategic partner.  Sure you can have process metrics like “time to staff positions” or “diversity profiles,” but HR departments that are focused primarily on such metrics lose focus and make stupid recommendations that result in the wrong candidates being hired or promoted for the wrong reasons.

3. Power trips

I’ve seen witch hunts, goose chases and all kinds of stupidity when a frustrated HR person gets caught up in the power of their position rather than what’s right for the business or for the human beings inside it.

4. Blinding rules and regulations

Strategic HR people sit at the table offering highly creative solutions to real business problems. Sure, they offer advice and stay on the right side of compliance, the law, and the overall good, but stupid adherence to policies that make no business sense will immediately cause people to work around you, rather than inviting you to the bigger conversation.

HR belongs at the table. The best HR folks I know are business leaders first, who also happen to have amazing expertise in HR.

How To Bring Out the Best In People

The story he shared in a recent workshop I led stopped my heart. We were talking about leadership and “bringing out the best in people,” when John (obviously not his real name) confided, “I’ve never seen anyone do what you’re talking about better than my wife.”

We smiled. “No. You don’t understand,” he continued.  (His eyes got bigger and his posture took on a sincerity that made everyone in the room lean in.) No one expected what came next.

“I was an absolute asshole. If you were to look up bad husbands in Wikipedia my picture would be there.”

I stayed totally still. There was absolutely nothing I could say next that would trump his story.

“I had been such a jerk for so many months. I knew it. She knew it. I was deeply depressed, and not myself. She didn’t complain. She never seemed to take it personally. Although, I can’t imagine how she wouldn’t. We had no money, which made the whole situation even more grim.

Then one day after a lot of long ones, she asked:  “Would you be willing to fully trust me and get up at 3am with me tomorrow and follow me?”

I felt so guilty, I said “Sure.” Even though I found the mere thought exhausting.

She woke me up, blind-folded me and took me sky diving–my top bucket-list adventure. We both knew we couldn’t afford it. But I leaped in. She took pictures and videos. As she played them back, she reminded me, “This is the man I love. This is who you really are. You can be this. You will get there again. I love you.”

Amen.

I’m going to admit right now, I’m not that big of a wife. This would NEVER have occurred to me. I’m in awe of this woman I’ve never met, inspiring a man with enormous potential to be bigger. As he shared his story, his eyes sparkled as they had for the previous two days. He was a ball of vibrant energy and potential. I’d feel lucky to have him on any team I was leading.

Perhaps someone you’re leading right now could use such a generous, humble and confident approach. A second chance to be seen for what’s possible.

P.S. I would love to schedule a free consultation about how I can help your team achieve breakthrough results in 2015.  Click here to download a one-page highlight sheet. karinhurt_One_Sheet

Succeeding as an Entrepreneur: Lessons From My First 9 Months

For those of you just tuning in, nine months ago, I quit my executive job to pursue my dream. Nope, no big buy-out, just me feeling the pull of a calling and taking the leap. “Are you crazy?” was my most frequently heard phrase at that time. It’s been nine months to birth this business.

Although I’m certainly not an expert on building a start-up, I’m confident enough in the momentum that I wanted to share my lessons learned, in the hopes of saving others some time.

10 Lessons For Succeeding as an Entrepreneur

  1. Differentiate your brand
    It’s tempting to be all things to all people, but that just makes you look like everyone else. It’s been an evolution, but I’m finding it vital to define and differentiate my brand and to share it consistently wherever I show up.
  2. Be scrappy, then patient
    There’s no doubt this year has been a constant hustle. I’ve worked most days, including the weekends. I’ve gotten up early and worked like a machine. I’ve spoken to and written for anyone who asked. And for the first six months, I wondered if ANY of the bulbs I’d been planting would sprout. And then, just about six months to the day, work started coming in. I don’t regret the scrappy, but I do regret the angst. If you’re doing the right thing, be patient with yourself, this stuff takes time.
  3. Don’t underestimate your value
    Seth Godin’s recent advice pretty much sums up my first six months.”Begin with the smallest possible project in which someone will pay you money to solve a problem they know they have. Charge less than it’s worth and more than it costs you. Repeat.”That’s a great way to start and I have no regrets. BUT, I soon learned I was really undervaluing my work. Have the confidence to charge what you’re worth.
  4. Work comes from unusual places
    The strength of loose ties is so true. Wonderful people from my business past are popping up in companies all over the country. The friend of a friend thing is working well too. Always operate with high integrity and confident humility, you never know who is paying attention.
  5. Being nice is a great business strategy
    Call it karma or luck, but two of my favorite projects came from just reaching out to someone to check in as a caring human being when they needed support. I’m pretty sure nice has trumped any marketing strategy I’ve tried so far.
  6. Always provide more than expected
    The old adage, “under promise, over deliver” doesn’t quite sum it up. I see it more as “carefully design what will best meet their needs, and then think of a bonus topper.”
  7. “Competitors” make amazing strategic partners
    I love working with other leadership folks with the same mission and the same journey. It’s the best way to learn, grow, and collaborate.
  8. Some people are just selfish, recognize the signs
    I had a few disappointing false starts in terms of collaborators. I’ve learned to ask more questions and to talk about the tough stuff like money, sooner in the game.
  9. Diversify your strategy
    As I was getting started, it was tough to expect too much momentum from any one channel. But I found that investing in building some speaking, some consulting, some coaching, some writing and some teaching created a nice integrated approach, as well as supported my long-term vision of making a broader impact on the world. I don’t think my business would have been profitable as quickly if I had just picked one arena.
  10. Don’t neglect your health
    Start-ups can take a toll. The first six months I ate too much and exercised to little- a terrible formula. I’ve now gotten a grip and realized that being a healthy role model is all part of the brand. I’m also finding I’m more productive returning to my healthier lifestyle again.

It’s not been easy, but I’ve never looked back. Thank you all for being an amazing part of this journey and of the path forward.

Do You Take Your Traditions For Granted?

A guest post by Frank Sonnenberg

When you hear the word holiday, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, shopping, parties, sales, and catalogs rank near the top of your list. The truth is, many holidays are becoming so commercialized that our proud traditions are in danger of becoming trivialized.

Many of us can’t even remember the true meaning of the holidays. Memorial Day has morphed from remembering our fallen soldiers to the unofficial beginning of summer. Labor Day’s role in recognizing the achievements of organized labor now just marks the end of summer and a return to school. Veterans Day is honored as a day off from work.

Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become. Once we ignore the meaning of our traditions, we’re in danger of damaging the underpinning of our identity.

  •  Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends.
  •  Tradition reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity, a good education, personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the value of being selfless.
  •  Tradition provides a forum to showcase role models and celebrate the things that really matter in life.
  •  Tradition offers a chance to say “thank you” for the contribution that someone has made.
  •  Tradition enables us to showcase the principles of our Founding Fathers, celebrate diversity, and unite as a country.
  •  Tradition serves as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends.
  •  Tradition offers an excellent context for meaningful pause and reflection.

As leaders, role models, and parents, we must strive to utilize every opportunity available to us to reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear. The alternative to action is taking these values for granted. The result is that our beliefs will get so diluted, over time, that our way of life will become foreign to us. It’s like good health. You may take it for granted until you lose it. If we disregard our values, we’ll open our eyes one day and won’t be able to recognize “our world” anymore. The values that support the backbone of our country, our family, and our faith will have drifted for so long that the fabric of our society will be torn.

This is adapted from Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others By Frank Sonnenberg © 2014 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

 

Confident Humility: FREE Downloadable Holiday Gifts

How to Lead with the Right Kind of Confidence

Great leaders have a unique combination of confidence and humility coupled with the power to create real vision and connection. These forces work together to inspire a magnetic magic that leads to breakthrough results. I’m on a mission to inspire and develop these characteristics in leaders around the world. This philosophy is at the core of my message in my speaking, writing and consulting. I’m confident it’s a message worth sharing.

Today I’m sharing some free gifts to help get the word out. I encourage you to download and use with your teams.

I’d also love to talk with you about the possiblity of working with you and your team on a fast start to 2015 or speaking at your next event.  Please contact me for a free consultation on how we can build something just right.

P.S. If you need an endorsement to get you inspired, here’s Santa’s.

Another Holiday Gift

As a holiday gift to you, I’m sharing some easy exercises you can use with your team in the new year (see sidebar). If you’re already a subscriber, check your email for a download link. If you’re new here, we’d love to have you join our inspiring tribe.

talkingteams-02-3D

More End of Year Fun

Our LGL tribe had some nice recognition, being honored as a Top 10 Leadership Sites of 2014 based on COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. You did that! I am so grateful for your amazing interaction. Your comments are my favorite part of writing.

I’m also really honored to be included on Inc’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers For Your Next Conference (of course, they used Sir Richard Branson’s pic, not mine, but I’m cheaper 😉

5 Times It's Better to Say No

It’s almost always easier to say “yes” than “no”–in the short run.

“Yes, it’s okay for you to treat me that way.”

‘Yes, I’ll stay late tonight and miss dinner again– after all my wife won’t say ‘no.’ “

“Yes, it’s okay skip my workout.”

“Yes, your work is fine” (even though it could be better.)

A close second to expectation violations, the inability to say “no” is one of the top sources of intrapersonal and interpersonal conflict in organizations.

Misplaced yeses sabotage relationships, goals, and well-being.

5 Times It’s Better To Say “No”

“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right.
These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”  -W. Clement Stone

Finding the courage to say “no” to what’s wrong, is a powerful fuel for start to saying “yes” to what matters most.

  1.  Say “No” to Rude or Disrespectful Behavior
    Sure it’s easier to ignore the situation. After all, who needs more drama? But allowing a co-worker or boss to treat you with disrespect slowly undermines your confidence, and sends a clear message that you’re willing to accept that behavior from him or her and any casual observers. Say “yes” to civil treatment at work.
  2. Say “No” to Time Wasters
    These come in the form of people or activities. Say “no” to stupid work that doesn’t propel your mission and goals. Say “no” to the guy who’s always hanging around your cube. Say “yes” to achieving your goals.
  3. Say “No” to Your Boss’ Harebrained Idea
    Yes you can. Trust me, your boss will thank you for carefully putting on the brakes. Speak up. Read more on how to here. Say “yes” to doing what’s right.
  4. Say “No” to Negative Self-Talk
    It’s easy to talk ourselves out of our own success. Say “yes” to positive thinking.
  5. Say “No” to Scope Creep
    You’ve outlined the project and the deliverables, but the “just one more” requests keep getting tagged on, without renegotiated deadlines or compensation. It’s okay to say “No, I can’t do that right now, or under our current terms,” while saying “yes” to “I’d be happy to talk to you about that as phase 2.” Say “yes” to renegotiation.

Say “no” to respect your best yes. Say “no” with the confidence to do what’s right, and the humility to know what matters.

5 Times It’s Better to Say No

It’s almost always easier to say “yes” than “no”–in the short run.

“Yes, it’s okay for you to treat me that way.”

‘Yes, I’ll stay late tonight and miss dinner again– after all my wife won’t say ‘no.’ “

“Yes, it’s okay skip my workout.”

“Yes, your work is fine” (even though it could be better.)

A close second to expectation violations, the inability to say “no” is one of the top sources of intrapersonal and interpersonal conflict in organizations.

Misplaced yeses sabotage relationships, goals, and well-being.

5 Times It’s Better To Say “No”

“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right.
These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”  -W. Clement Stone

Finding the courage to say “no” to what’s wrong, is a powerful fuel for start to saying “yes” to what matters most.

  1.  Say “No” to Rude or Disrespectful Behavior
    Sure it’s easier to ignore the situation. After all, who needs more drama? But allowing a co-worker or boss to treat you with disrespect slowly undermines your confidence, and sends a clear message that you’re willing to accept that behavior from him or her and any casual observers. Say “yes” to civil treatment at work.
  2. Say “No” to Time Wasters
    These come in the form of people or activities. Say “no” to stupid work that doesn’t propel your mission and goals. Say “no” to the guy who’s always hanging around your cube. Say “yes” to achieving your goals.
  3. Say “No” to Your Boss’ Harebrained Idea
    Yes you can. Trust me, your boss will thank you for carefully putting on the brakes. Speak up. Read more on how to here. Say “yes” to doing what’s right.
  4. Say “No” to Negative Self-Talk
    It’s easy to talk ourselves out of our own success. Say “yes” to positive thinking.
  5. Say “No” to Scope Creep
    You’ve outlined the project and the deliverables, but the “just one more” requests keep getting tagged on, without renegotiated deadlines or compensation. It’s okay to say “No, I can’t do that right now, or under our current terms,” while saying “yes” to “I’d be happy to talk to you about that as phase 2.” Say “yes” to renegotiation.

Say “no” to respect your best yes. Say “no” with the confidence to do what’s right, and the humility to know what matters.

3 Ways to Prepare for a Better Performance Review

It had been an insane but productive year of game-changing projects and really long hours. I was proud, but exhausted. We had our final push just as the holidays were approaching, and I was more stressed then ever. My phone rang and Laura, my boss, told me she needed my accomplishments a week earlier than expected. I was beyond annoyed. Laura knew what we had done. I didn’t have time to write it all down.

But she was the boss so I slapped something together and sent it to her. Ten minutes later the phone rang again. “Karin this is crap. There is no way this is a good summary of what you’ve done this year. Here’s what I need…” Laura then gave me a long list of metrics, correlations, and ROI calculations to do.

Now I pushed back, “That’s going to take all night! What do want, my other deliverables or all this? I can’t do both.”

“Find a way.”

I did.

What I learned a month later was that she had submitted my name for a big award that came with an all expense paid trip for two (and a week’s extra vacation) to Puerto Rico. She knew I needed the rest. Boy was I glad she’d pushed me so hard. As I sat on the beach sipping my chardonnay, I vowed to never blow off preparing for a performance review again.

Here’s what I learned from Laura about showcasing your accomplishments. Give it a try as you prepare for your own performance review, or share with your team to help them prepare for their meeting with you.

3 Ways to Prepare For a Better Performance Review

1. Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

Don’t just say what you did, calculate the business impact. If possible calculate the ROI on your projects (of course this is a lot easier if you do it along the way versus pulling an all-nighter). If ROI is too much of a stretch calculate percent improvement in key metrics.

Even the soft stuff can be reported in terms of numbers. Don’t say you invested in developing your team; instead share that three of your team members were promoted. Don’t say you conducted three teambuilders; share that absenteeism went down 20% and that you have a 10% YOY improvement in the employee survey metrics.

As you plan for 2015, be sure you’re also planning which measurements and correlations you’d like to be using to showcase your performance this time next year.

2. Write Down Where You Need to Improve

Nothing impresses me more than when employees come to their review with a spot-on list of what they could have done better, areas for development, and how I can help. Approaching your review with such confident humility immediately puts your boss in helping mode. I guarantee the review will feel better and go more smoothly from both sides of the desk.

3. Gather Additional Perspectives

The end of the year is a great time for a Do It Yourself 360. Knowing where you stand with others will lead to richer discussion with your boss.

Often it’s the best performers who are too busy to “toot their own horn” and document their accomplishments well. It’s not bragging, it’s useful. Make life easier on your boss this performance management season, and invest the time to prepare properly.