Dwight from the Office gets some advice on becoming awesome

Posted by Sandhya Johnson on January 21, 2015

Small Group Meeting

Dwight from the Office gets some advice on becoming awesome

The first two months of the year in most companies are focused on two critical activities of performance management: (1) setting goals and targets; and (2) preparing for the year-end performance discussion. They serve different purposes – goal setting sets the expectations for the current year, while year-end performance discussions reflect on the accomplishments of the previous year. Yet these two activities are intertwined and connected. Wrapping up the prior year and leveraging specific performance feedback to optimize contributions in the current year is productive and meaningful. But, how does one plan for the year-end performance discussion?

It reminds me of the scene in the “The Office” with Dwight preparing for a discussion and his business case for a raise was summarized in just four words.. “Because I am Awesome.” Is that enough to get him the raise he thought he deserved? Probably not. Did Dwight’s Manager expect him to come up with some thing more impactful than those four words? Absolutely. Sorry Dwight, but here is the advice I would have provided you to better prepare for your discussion.

To truly identify your areas of awesomeness, one needs to go through a self-assessment exercise. The idea is to complete the 4X4 Business Priorities-Individual Contribution grid below. Begin by listing all the activities – i.e. projects/programs/initiatives you worked on. Next, based on each activities linkage to business priority, place it in one of the 4 boxes in the grid.

Dwight from the Office gets some advice on becoming awesome
  1. Area of Awesomeness: This is where your contributions are directly aligned with business priorities. Consider these your biggest accomplishments or successes – the ones you need to be proud of.
  2. Area of Improvement: We all need to expand our knowledge, skills and abilities in some areas. In order to objectively come up with those critical few, reflect on the business priorities and ask yourself, “What could I have done better in order to improve business results?”
  3. Area of Least Value: Occasionally, we get bogged down with doing what we know best without considering what value it truly adds to the business. It is a good idea, to stop and reflect on these activities. Be sure to discuss these with your Manager to find out what can be done to ensure your contributions can be better aligned with business needs.
  4. Area to Avoid: Hopefully, this box is a blank one for most of us. These are activities that have no impact on the business and your contributions were limited.

The Business Priorities – Individual Contribution grid provides a more holistic view of your contributions. More importantly, take this with you to your performance review discussion. I guarantee you, your manager will be impressed with the level of thought you have given to your performance. Remember, the key is to be able to articulate not “because I am awesome” but “I am awesome because…”