One of the most powerful and promotable actions you can take right now is to scan your workload and determine if you are stalled anywhere because you are not clear. Did you leave a group meeting unsure of what your role in a task or project was? Are you working solo on something assigned by a boss that is notoriously unclear about expectations? Are you playing whack-a-mole as the team leader trying to herd cats as everyone tries hard but does not seem to be going in the same direction? Call a “time out” and get clear.
The Clear Agreement in your performance review folder is powerful. “Here is what I took ownership of and how I pulled everything together to execute. I even had my bases covered if scope creep was starting or the deadline had to be moved.” If you want to be viewed as promotable to a higher level of management few things beat demonstrating the ability to get and act on Clear Agreement.
Looking back to learn is another way of demonstrating holding yourself and others accountable. Why oh why is plowing through missteps or mistakes rewarded? If you always stop and take a few minutes to document a Look Back and Learn and put it in your performance folder, the rewards will be many and great. Remember, most organizations are set up to catch you doing things wrong. They can’t help themselves, it’s all they really know when it comes to performance evaluations. Learning from what is or isn’t working is a daily, sometimes hourly opportunity! Learning from what just happened good or bad, individually and collectively is calling to account actions and outcomes. It’s the least expensive form of continuous training. All it takes is open, honest conversation on-going using this format.
Think about showing up to your performance evaluation with five “Look Back and Learns”. Wow! It’s hard to dispute your value to the organization when you can articulate the contribution made, in writing, about how you owned, acted on, and answered for what you are paid to do. And if team building is your aim, nothing beats starting every meeting with someone contributing a Look Back and Learn. You will see new team members react with eyes wide as saucers with this refreshingly direct way to demonstrate, “We value learning from what works and what doesn’t and we hold ourselves and each other accountable by looking back to learn.”
It is very powerful to keep your eye on the ball. I golf and the temptation to lift my head up and look to see where the ball is going before the club meets it, is great. No Linda! Head down, keep your eye on it until the club meets the ball and then follow through. It works every time. The same can be said for success. If you have no definition of success, you’ll hit something but who knows what and where it will go from there? If your Definition of Success is not posted where you can see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night, your follow through is going to be non-existent and your days will go all over the place. Nothing wrong with that unless you are a leader or manager. You might like the willy-nilly “get through the day” approach, but it’s not a stretch to guess those who work for you hate it. Start with yourself and define success, post it and follow through.
With your professional definition of success firmly planted in your performance folder you will have yet another compelling sign that says “promote me” or “I earned the raise I deserve” to go with your Clear Agreements and Look Backs.
These three accountable actions you can take right now are like a lever that can catapult you to your desired destination. Trust yourself and take the steps to empower your mindset of personal accountability. You can start today using what you have to work with right now.