Are you winging it in performance reviews?

“Winging it” in performance reviews will never get you the money, time off, or promotions that you deserve. It takes dreaming, goal setting, planning, preparation… and an action plan to pave the way to achieving your goals.


When I was a little girl, I always dreamed about running my own company. I would go to my dad’s office on Saturday mornings to play. I’d shuffle through the mail, bang on the old Wang computer keyboard, scribble on employees’ desks, and pretend I was talking on their phones. I remember throwing files all over the file cabinets, too. I always had a naughty streak in me!


As I got older, I was always working from an action plan. Of course, that plan was always flexible because of life’s “serendipities.” Sometimes, things didn’t work out the way I had planned, so I needed to change course.

At the beginning and end of every year, I put out my pretend “monopoly” board. I moved pieces around the board, add new crazy, lofty goals (BHAGs, as Jim Collins would say) and add to my templates from Traction by Gino Wickman.

I would think about what new challenges I wanted to take on, and what I needed to do to improve myself, in order to move to the next level. I would always put a crazy sales/profit number on my calendar and see if my team and I could achieve it!

All of this planning and preparation gave me an edge in performance reviews, because I would excel and achieve in my current position. This would give me an opportunity to ask for a promotion, take on more challenges, receive more incentive money, and grow to higher levels in the organization.


Before each of my performance reviews, I always prepared. In order to achieve the salary, promotions and benefits you deserve, you must prepare, plan, and perform.

Think about it from your boss’s point of view. Practice with someone pretending to be your boss. What type of stress are they under? Don’t schedule it on a day when they have just come back from back-to-back meetings or airports, or if they have a big meeting to prepare for. Make sure you have time to really talk, build a relationship with them, and tell them your story so they can be supportive of your efforts.


Before the big day: exercise, get centered, meditate, relax, eat well, and get a good night’s sleep. Anxious or emotionally hijacked people don’t perform well under pressure.

And when the day comes, be confident! Show pride in your work, and be open to feedback. Demonstrate that you are proud of the contribution you’ve made, you recognize your own worth, and you’re eager for more responsibility.

One Response to Are you winging it in performance reviews?

  1. Well said, Dawn. Over the years a number of clients I’ve worked with have complained that they haven’t had a performance review in __ years. They see it as their supervisors responsibility and miss the opportunity to create their own review. Who knows best the work you’ve done? You. Take the initiative. Make it happen. Your supervisor will appreciate it when done will and you can get the feedback you need to continue to improve.

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