Performance goals are a big part of many reviews, so it’s important to pay attention to them after the first quarter of the year. Otherwise, they can come back to bite you when you are vying for the all-important performance rating and rankings.
What are your strategies for hitting your goals? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Business priorities change. But if your goals are not updated with what is important now, you’ll never get credit for all the new work you are doing and you’ll get dinged for all the work you didn’t do on your goals — even though the goals are no longer relevant.
Your manager will probably not proactively come to you and suggest you should modify your goals based on the work you’re doing now, right? So you need to be proactive and go to your manager to ensure what you are working on now is reflected in what you are supposed to do for your performance review.
Are Your Goals Still Measurable?
If you can’t measure your performance, any rating will do. Perhaps what you thought would come online to help measure your goals in early February still hasn’t happened. It may be time to see how to measure your goal differently.
Are Your Goals Still Attainable?
At the beginning of the year, each goal had a story about how you were going to attain your goal. Maybe it was working on a new project or overhauling a process.
But, circumstances change and maybe your project got delayed — and so did your ability to attain the goal associated with the project. Or maybe that process you were going to overhaul got put to the side for now because you had to fix another process.
Are Your Goals Still Relevant?
If your goal was to rearrange chairs on the deck of a ship, it would be great. But if the ship is sinking like the Titanic, rearranging chairs isn’t relevant anymore. And when your boss goes into a calibration session and argues for that great rating, but reveals your great attainment of rearranging chairs, every other manager will totally discount what you did. You lose.
Are Your Goals Still Timely?
How long we estimate a project will take is different from how long it actually takes in the real world. To use a real business example, you could project to be done with documenting a set of processes by the end of April, based on some parameter. If a complex process figures to take 15 hours to do, you could be done by the end of April.
But, when you get at the real work, it doesn’t take fifteen hours to do a complex process document. In the real world, it may take twenty-five hours to do and there is no way you’ll make the end of April. Unless you try to change the end date for your goal, you’ll be perceived as not able to hit your dates. And this is not where you want to be during performance review time.
Your Action Item
Your action item is to take your goals and rethink them after the first quarter of the year. If you see issues with them, now is the time to go to your manager and make your case.
Honestly, your coworkers won’t do this. But if you do, at the end of the year, your goals will look good across all the important dimensions of time, effort, and importance to the business. Meanwhile, your coworkers will be judged based on rearranging chairs on the Titanic that went down way back at the beginning of the year, regardless of what they have done since then.