Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and I'm super excited to be here with you guys again this week. And I want to commend you for listening. We're already in episode number 51 and this podcast is working. This information that I'm sharing with you on a weekly basis is helping people and getting them promoted. And so speaking of helping people, giving them the tools to get themselves promoted into senior executive leadership positions, I want to spend a couple of minutes talking about Executive Ahead of Time.
This is the program that I created this year to teach corporate leaders and to reach more people, to really give them the tools in a training format that they need to succeed at that next level of leadership. So one of the really amazing byproducts of this program is the corporate communities. They have corporate leaders from all over the United States, this time, and eventually the world that they can lean on and they can have conversations with and hold each other accountable.
I mean, who else do you have to talk to about your professional development goals? You have your spouse or maybe some friends, but who do you have that actually has advice for you and can challenge you and motivate you? It is so empowering to be able to speak and connect with a group of like-minded people who are all striving for the same purpose, which is that you need to be in a higher level executive position. You are amazing and you are definitely qualified to scale yourself to the C suite. The only challenges you haven't been given the tools to do that. So that is what this program is all about. That is what my podcast is all about, is giving you those tools. Because it's not your fault. You just have never experienced it or learned the strategies necessary to take yourself to that next level of leadership.
So I want to share with you one of the wins from a client that is in the program. So the program is a six week intensive. We get to work and this stuff happens fast. And that's one of the really cool things, is that people think they've been trying to get promoted for a year, or several years, or six months, or whatever it is, and they feel like nothing's working, and then they do my program and in one week they make a shift.
So one example is, in the first week, one of our clients, I'll call her Mary, she said I scheduled a conversation with my SVP. I've been thinking about scheduling a conversation with my SVP for ever and I haven't actually done it.
So not only did she schedule the conversation in the first week, but because I gave her exactly what to say in that conversation, she made more progress in fifteen minutes than she definitely would have made on her own. And so she came back to the group and reported in our Voxer community, it's a group text message that we share with everybody to hold everybody accountable and to get coaching on the go, she shared with everybody that not only was it a fantastic conversation, he was so excited that she was taking her professional development seriously, that she had shared this information with him, and he told Mary that: 'I have the perfect project for you. I didn't think about it, but let me look into this.'.
And she reported to the group that if that project actually happens, it's clearly putting her on the path to the C-Suite. Exactly where she wants to be someday. It's unbelievable how quick these changes could happen. And it's working.
So Executive Ahead of Time. If you aren't already on the wait list, I encourage you to go to www.ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com, sign up for the VIP wait list. Two reasons to get on the wait list:.
One is that I only open up the program a few times a year, so you definitely don't want to miss out on the registration process.
And the other thing is, is that I offer exclusive bonuses simply to the waitlist members because I want to thank you. I want to thank you for taking the time to really take your own professional development seriously, because it takes an army to change corporate America, and that is what we're doing, one corporate leader at a time. We are bringing more diversity to the leadership table because you are willing to say yes to yourself. So thank you so much. Go to that website, sign up for the wait list. You won't regret it.
All right. Now into today's episode. So today I'm going to be talking to you about something that might be on your mind right now. But I know a lot of companies have different timing of performance reviews, but it also is something that comes up for a lot of people at the end of the year.
So this is usually the time that I like to talk about performance reviews and really offer my guidance on how to handle them. Because, this can be really daunting for people. It can feel very overwhelming. It can feel like I don't know how to handle this. And and I want to make it easier. And I also want to make it super productive, because my goal is that you get promoted. My goal is that you get the recognition that you deserve. And it can feel like this performance review time is the time to do that for yourself. So I totally get it. It's a time for you to have an open conversation with your boss about your goals and your areas of improvement.
And it can feel like an all or nothing. Like, 'if this works out, that's my chance' kind of thought process. And so it can be causing you a lot of unnecessary stress. So I'm going to tell you how to deal with performance reviews in today's episode.
So as we get started, the first thing I want to point out is that my overall philosophy of performance reviews is that if you want to get promoted into a senior executive leadership position, do not wait to take action until your performance review.
So I mentioned just a few seconds ago about how this causes some stress and anxiety for people. It's because we wait until our performance review to speak up about our professional development goals. We wait until our performance review to get feedback on our performance as it applies to our ability to get promoted versus the feedback on our performance as it applies to our job. So those are two different things.
So what's going to get you to that next level of leadership might be different than what's going to have you be successful in the current position that you're in.
So the mindset shift, the thing that I want you to start to really understand is that we're always, always having professional development conversations with our boss throughout the entire year.
Now, I want to I was thinking about this and I wanted to offer a little bit of an analogy, a story to maybe paint this picture and bring it home even more. So it's almost the holidays. And I just was thinking about the absurdity. Let's say you're waiting for Christmas. You're not sure if Santa Claus is going to give you gifts or not. You don't know what to expect and you're very nervous about it. So most of us probably assume that Santa will give us gifts every single year. So let's just pretend that what they say in the song that you're either naughty or nice and then Santa will either give you gifts or not give you gifts based on your performance. Based on your readiness to go to that next level. So what you do is, it's about a month before, and there's not a ton of things that you can do about it. Basically, Santa has already decided if he's giving you gifts because he has all these gifts allotted to different people and you're either going to get them or you're not going to get them. And so you try and be really nice during that final month. But Santa has already made up his mind. He knows who's getting the gifts and who's not getting the gifts. And for the most part, you're just waiting. You're waiting to see what happens. And then you wake up on Christmas morning and you go in there and you just sort of hope, hope for the best. You just open up the door and you're like: 'Oh, did I get it or not get it?'.
And if you think about this story and kind of the absurdity of that, putting that amount of pressure on somebody else's actions and on somebody else's decision, that has already been decided long before the actual performance review date. So you're looking at this and you're saying: 'Oh, my gosh, I hope they accept me, but there's very little that I can do about it except for just being nice over the next 30 days.' And that's like torture. It is full on torture. And I really want you to understand why this is such a problem for you. We're stressed enough at the end of the year and we don't need to be waiting on pins and needles whether or not they're going to accept us. So what I teach my clients is instead to take their professional development back into their own hands. And I give them the tools to get themselves promoted into senior executive leadership. And one of the ways that I do that is to teach them how to become the executive ahead of time. So they're actually learning and using the skills of executive leadership in whatever role that they're in right now.
So I talked about two things, which is feedback that comes in your performance review and then also recognition, like am I going to get promoted or not? The actual title and compensation. The only thing that your performance review is good for is the second one. Am I going to actually get the promotion and the title in the compensation? And a lot of times it really does happen at that time. But knowing that that in and of itself is basically outside of your control, it's decided months and months ahead of time. Very little. you can do it the very last minute. It doesn't have a ton to do with your self-assessment. It often doesn't even have to do with how your boss feels about you. It has to do with whatever allotment they have in terms of salary at this time of year that we live in, in 2020. It could also do with: 'Are they withholding any raises?' So a lot of things that have very little to do with you.
If you think of a performance review as 'I just have to show up and take it', it just is what it is, then what are you going to do instead? Right. How are you going to take care of yourself and really take ownership of your career in the interim? In the moments after the performance review? And that's when all the focus lies on feedback.
So in your performance review as well, it's a one way conversation. So let's say your promotion and your salary compensation. It's already decided. So they're giving you feedback for next year. So all you can do is hope, OK, next year I hope to do better. So they're giving you that feedback and they're telling you this is what you're going to need to do if you want to get promoted next year.
So you're going to take that feedback of the performance review and listen to it and not negotiate it at the time. So what many of us do in our performance reviews to add insult to injury, is that... Let's go back to the Santa Claus analogy, just because I think it's kind of fun. OK, so you don't get any toys that year. You go into your living room, there's nothing there. But Santa is sitting on a chair. And you're going to argue with him about it. Like, Well, I did this. I did that. There are these things that I did, and you're actually arguing with him in the moment. And and he's sitting there and he has ten more houses to get to that evening. He doesn't have a ton of time. And his hands are tied. He can't really do anything because they don't have any presents for you. There's nothing that he can actually do. So you're arguing at the wrong time.
So in the performance review itself, what you're going to do is receive the feedback. You're simply going to listen and you're going to ask questions. So what does that mean? So what would I need to do differently? Right. So you're not going to state your case as to why you should have been promoted this year instead of next year. You're going to get super curious and have a very open dialogue with your boss.
I would also be curious even if things went well. So let's say you got a ton of toys and you're very excited about that. I would get really curious as to why. And if you didn't actually get the title change that you wanted, I would get curious of like: 'OK, so it sounds like a lot of things are working, but what is next for me?'.
So just just having a very open conversation instead of a closed argument. And by argument, I know many of you are very stealthy about this. You don't literally yell or argue with your boss. You're sneaky that way. But we can argue by not listening. We can argue by being frustrated internally. So there are lots of different ways that we can show that we're not happy with this information and none of that does any good for you whatsoever.
And so the second piece of advice is this idea of owning your professional development. And I'm going to center it all around feedback. So let's look at post-performance review.
In the performance review itself, you're going to digest the information, you're going to listen, you're really going to absorb, you're going to get curious, you're going to ask questions. And then you're going to schedule a follow up conversation for two months later.
Every two months, you're going to have a conversation with whoever is in charge of writing your performance review about your progress. So what's working? What's not working? You want to get open feedback with your boss. And this works in two ways. So obviously it's a great way to calibrate if you're doing well and things are going well and you should continue on that path. That's all very good and very positive. You should definitely be doing that.
But the other way that it also works is the more that your boss says out loud that you're making progress, that these things are working and these things are not working, the more that your boss gives you specific feedback, not just generic feedback, but specific tools that you can do, you can actually go out and implement those tools right away and then check back in with your boss the next two months and see if it's working. The more that you do that and you engage your boss in that process, when it becomes performance review time, then it's already clear what your boss is going to say. You're not waiting like on pins and needles. 'I don't know if I've been good this year or not good?' You actually know that you've been good and you've had open conversations about it and your boss has been very honest with you and you know exactly what to expect. That is actually the best type of performance review. That you know very much what to expect, that it's very clear what it is, and then it's just transactional. It's like: 'This is how much your raises and this is what your new title is." That would be ideal.
So you're soliciting this feedback all throughout the year. Now, if your performance review is not right now, it's not in December, you can go ahead and start this process right away. Now, here is a little bonus tip that I want to give you. When you're having feedback conversations with anybody, if it's about your performance or whatever it is, whenever you're having feedback conversations with people, you want to make sure that you start the conversation with what you have been trying.
So I received this feedback from you. And so I tried this and this and this. I think it's working. I still have some room for growth here. What are your thoughts about it so far? Instead of what you might be inclined to do, which is just walk into your boss's office and just say: 'Hey, so we talked about delegating more to my team, and I just want to see if that's working.' Right? Because that's what many of you guys are doing and that's a really frustrating and hard place to put your boss in.
So you want to actually be very proactive. And this is another example of becoming the Executive Ahead of Time, because that's how executives talk, right? Executives say what they're working on and then they ask for very specific, tailored advice.
So that's what you're going to do. And then I just want you to also own the fact that: 'why wait until this performance review day to put all of your eggs in one basket' as an absurdity? And what are the ways that you can have winds throughout the year?
Many of you are looking for more recognition. So that would be your "promotion". And the final thing I'm going to leave you with is: what are those other ways that you can be promoted throughout the year? And really start going for them. So if your company has a hard, fast rule that no title changes, that they only happen at a certain type of year, then that just is what it is, right?
If if you notice that that's actually a falsity that they tell you that, but then other people get promoted, then we just sort of ignore that as a rule and we can continue advocating for ourselves and looking for other opportunities to technically get promoted throughout the entire year.
But the other thing is, is what are those other ways that I could be promoted ahead of time and actually put a plan in place to make those little wins happen? And if you start making those wins happen, if you become the executive ahead of time, if you're having these regular feedback conversations with your boss throughout the year, the chance of you actually being promoted at the end of the year is way more likely than it would be to just kind of wait and see.
So that is today's episode. I wish you all the best of luck in your next performance review. I hope these tips have served you well. My goal is to have the least amount of stress and anxiety based around this one day, this one conversation that's going to be had. And really just start to teach you how to take your own professional development into your own hands, because the time is now. We need you in a senior executive leadership position. Your boss needs you in a senior executive leadership position. And corporate America needs you in a higher level executive position. So let's go out there and make it happen.
Thank you so much and have a wonderful week.