This time of year is when you sit down with your boss and have the dreaded annual performance review. It’s likely dreaded for a reason. You hate getting feedback and your boss hates giving feedback. It’s very common. These days performance reviews feel like a bit of jockeying. When you do your Self Evaluation, you avoid putting anything that can be used against you. And when your boss does your Evaluation, they will avoid putting anything that will imply a promotion, raise or even maintaining your employment.
In general, the feedback gets worse when you move up. I think the Manager figures “they know what’s going on and am I really going to make a difference?” It’s almost easier to give that eager green Assistant Brand Manager feedback then it is to give a Senior Brand Manager, Director of VP good solid feedback.
If you are managing your career, then give yourself feedback
Are you lucky enough to have a boss that puts a lot into the review? Does your boss focus on ways to help you to genuinely improve? Is there a plan you can follow that challenges you and yet help you to be successful? Does your boss care about your long-term career success? I sure hope so. I encourage Brand Leaders to be fully engaged in the careers of their team. The leader has to buy into the idea that the better the people, the better the work and in turn the better the results. For information on how to conduct a performance review, read the following story: How to Conduct a Performance Review.
If you manage your career, (Managing Your Career from ABM to VP of Marketing) then you have to be willing to give yourself the most honest feedback you can. Below is a tool I’ve used in coaching executives that will help to give yourself a Self Evaluation against the dimensions that would make up 1) Leading and Managing and 2) Brand Stewardship.
Go through each of the dimensions and give yourself a score in relation to your peers. A score of 5 means you’re the best in the department in a given area, a 3 means you are average and the scores of 1’s and 2’s would mean you have a gap. We all have gaps. The real question is what are going to do about closing that gap.
Leading and Managing
This covers areas related to how well you lead your team: holding them to a high standard, coaching, motivating and showing up consistently.
- Hold your team to a consistently high standard of work in strategic thinking and planning.
- Hold your team to a consistently high standard of work in execution in the market.
- People Leadership: your team knows the team vision and is consistently motivated by where you want to go.
- People Management: seen as actively interested in helping your team to manage their careers.
- Coaching: Teach, guide and direct your team members for higher performance.
- Training and Development provide on-going skills development to make the team better.
- Motivation and Recognition: you are seen to actively provide positive commentary to team players, one on one and in public.
- Consistent Communication: Both written and spoken, big and small. Easily approachable and makes time to wander.
- Actively Listens to Team: asks the big strategic questions, not the small tactical details
- Leadership during times of pressure: results, ambiguity, change, and deadlines.
This would look at how you do in terms of the marketing of the brand. That looks at strategic thinking, quality of the output, processes and how well you show up to peers.
- Takes the time each week to engage in deeper Strategic Thinking to ensure it’s not just about execution.
- Has Crafted a Team Vision to help align & motivate the team. Stewart of the Direction of the Brand and Gatekeeper to all things strategic
- Challenges Team to stay on strategy, yet provides motivation for creative solutions.
- Consistency in the Quality of marketing outputs: Advertising/Media, Innovation/New Products and In-store/Promotion
- Relationship with Agencies, able to motivate for better work.
- Consistently in the relationships, you’ve built with the Sales Team
- Broad Influence beyond your team with core stakeholders: R&D, Finance, HR, global.
- Organization of the workflows. Your team gets things done on time. Deadlines, on budget, on the forecast.
- Processes: you organize, challenge and manage the processes so your team can execute.
- Manages Up: Once aligned with the team you are able to effectively gain support from those above. Seen as one to fight for your team.
Identifying Your Own Gaps
Using the two elements of the review above, identify what are the 3 areas from the Self Evaluation that you feel you need the most focus on? Then as you build your own personal plan for the year, ask yourself what is your objective/goal for each of those 3 areas. And then map out a plan of attack for the coming year? It might feel a bit crazy, but going through the process should help you identify where you need the most help. If you’re reluctant in sharing this with your boss, fearing how it might be used against you, then reach out to a friend and seek their advice. If you’re not comfortable with that, feel free to bounce some of your thoughts off me. I do this with many Brand Leaders. And don’t worry, we all have gaps. I struggled at different times in my career when dealing with the sales team and it took me a while to master the art of managing up. You might be able to learn from some of my mistakes.
I run Brand Leader Training programs on this very subject as well as a variety of others that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders. Click on any of the topics below:
- How to Write an Effective Brand Positioning Statement
- How to Write a Creative Brief
- How to Write a Brand Plan
- How to Think Strategically
- How to Drive Profits from Your Brand
- How to Run a Brand
- How to Write a Monthly Report