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Crucial Applications: How to Avoid a Déjà Vu Performance Review

According to our recent poll, 43 percent of employees experienced a déjà vu performance review in 2012—negative performance feedback that surfaces year after year.

Nearly two out of three employees say they’ve received negative feedback, and yet only one out of three has ever made a dramatic change based on this feedback. The research shows the typical performance review cycle includes managers giving employees the same negative feedback year after year with little effect on performance.

One reason performance reviews are largely ineffective is employees lack the ability to put their performance feedback into action. In fact, 87 percent of respondents say they left their review without a plan for how to better meet their managers’ expectations.

Here are seven tips for how employees can make the most of their performance reviews this year:

1. Ask for detailed feedback. Specific, behavioral feedback of both your accomplishments and challenges allows you to know the exact behaviors to replicate and change. After receiving detailed feedback, let your manager know you’re eager to learn and improve.

2. Visit your default future. Motivate yourself to change by visiting your “default future”—the career you’ll be stuck with if you fail to improve performance and are repeatedly passed up for promotion.

3. Invest in professional development. New habits always require new skills. Actively develop the skills you need to be viewed as a top performer through training, workshops, or books—but make sure this is only one part of a bigger change strategy.

4. Find a mentor. Changing habits requires help. Find a trusted mentor to encourage your progression and help you navigate the career development opportunities that exist within the organization.

5. Put skin in the game. Tie your performance to your compensation such as making your year-end bonus dependent on your ability to hit your improvement goals. Or set aside a portion of each paycheck. If you hit your goals, reward yourself at the end of the year. If you fall short, make out a check to a political party you oppose.

6. Control your workspace. Make your new habits easier by enlisting the power of your surroundings. If you’d benefit from close association with another team, ask to move offices. When possible, turn off electronic interruptions that keep you from being as productive as you need to be to move ahead.

7. Let your manager see your advances. Eagerly continue on the path to high performance. Nothing heals the wounds of disappointment like surprising and delighting your manager in the future.

Register today to join New York Times bestselling author David Maxfield for a 40-minute webinar where he’ll share important insights from our recent research study, as well as applicable tips for making sure you don’t get caught in a negative review cycle.

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