Volume #31 - December 2002

Many of you are probably going through the process of self-assessment in preparation for your annual review. Even if your company is somehow not up to speed on assessing performance and helping people to develop, you should set aside some time before the end of the month to determine how well you think you did this year. What have you achieved? Did you meet your 2002 goals? What did you accomplish that the company required of you? What did you do in terms of stretching yourself - in developing new skills, expanding your knowledge, or building critical relationships? What did you learn this year that will help you be more successful in 2003?

Throughout the year, you should be keeping track of your accomplishments so that at this point in time you're not scratching your head asking yourself what you did during the last 12 months. Weekly, monthly or quarterly reports that list your accomplishments and show how you've spent your time and what you've achieved provide data for your boss on which to assess your performance and demonstrate your value to the organization. Putting your accomplishments down in writing gives you the language to talk about yourself in positive ways. Seeing everything you've done also helps you to realize how much you have accomplished as well as laying the foundation for you to see what you need to do next year.

After you've analyzed what you did and didn't do this year, lay out your strategy for next year. Create short-term goals - goals for 2003 - that will support your long-term goal. Your long-term goal is what you ultimately want to achieve in your career. What steps can you take in 2003 that are achievable but that will stretch you so that you grow and develop?

When thinking about these goals, here are some critical elements to consider:

First, what strengths do you have that can be leveraged? Think about how to use your strengths even more in the new year and make them visible to critical people in your organization. For example, ask to be part of a special project, or a team, that needs someone with your skills.

Second, examine any goals that you didn't achieve this year. What caused the gap? What skills - technical, communication, leadership - do you need to develop? Set up an action plan for developing those skills and then create measures of success. For example, if you are working on developing your presentation skills, set up a goal of making presentations at least once a month. Measure your success by evaluating your performance and level of improvement. Did you impact your audience the way you wanted to? Did your audience understand and get your message? Did you engage your audience? Did you come across as poised, confident and knowledgeable? Track your improvement over the course of the year.

Third, create some real stretch goals for yourself. What are the critical skills you'll need to achieve your long-term goal? Perhaps you know that you'll want a new position in 2004 that will bring you closer to your final goal. What do you need to do in 2003 to prepare yourself for that position?

Fourth, create a plan for the year, mapping out goals for the development of skills and accomplishments over time. Some outcomes might not be achieved until the end of the year, but set some for the end of the first quarter, second quarter and third quarter. As you are able to check accomplishments off and see success as the year progresses, it will motivate you and keep you on track.

Fifth, don't forget to include goals around building relationships. Other people are the keys to success - the people can open doors for you and provide you with knowledge and insight. How do you want to expand your network over the course of the year? Who can help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself? Look for the people with whom to build alliances. The more connected you are the more powerful you become.

Following a yearly plan gives you the ability to see yourself more clearly and to manage your career more effectively. Even when things happen that are out of your control such as layoffs and downsizing, having a plan in place helps you to have a better understanding of how to move forward. In the end, it's really up to you - you're the one ultimately responsible for managing your career.


  1. What is your long-term vision?
  2. What are your goals for 2003? How do they support your long-term vision?
  3. What are your strengths? How will you leverage them in the coming year?
  4. What developmental areas do you need to work on this year?
  5. What stretch goals will help you achieve your long-term vision?
  6. What kind of action plan do you need to develop?
  7. Who can help you in this process?
  8. With whom do you need to build relationships?
  9. What does your boss need to know about your accomplishments in 2002 and your goals for 2003?

Copy © 2002 Virginia O'Brien All s Reserved

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