We all sit down to the annual review with our boss. Sometimes it is a structured affair. Sometimes it’s haphazard.
Sometimes it feels thought out ahead of time, and sometimes it feels like just the opposite.
We can leave the meeting feeling good, or confused.
I read one executive’s approach for how he conducts every annual review with his direct reports and I have to admit it seems to make a lot of sense.
6 Questions for the Annual Review
1. Who are your most valuable peers (or subordinates) and what can we do to make sure they stay?
This is a great way to gain insight from people as to who the strong people on the team are by the folks who know them best – their peers. If you use this technique you will see the same names continually and a few surprises also.
2. What scares you most about our competition?
Puts the boss’s expectations right out on the table. Are you paying attention to our core business? Or are you focused only on your world? This answer will tip your hand.
3. Why does this company need you?
Bottom line. Make your value proposition. What do you bring to the table that others can’t or aren’t (at this particular moment in time).
4. What have you allowed to fall through the cracks in the last 12 months?
Transparency. An honest assessment that you can’t do everything (regardless of your previous answer). It isn’t important that you dropped something – but did you recognize that you dropped something? Two different points of view and one of those views is troubling to your boss.
5. Are the company objectives at odds with your own? Is the company expecting you to work more hours than you are willing to give? Less? Underchalleneged?
Trying to see if you and the company are still a good fit for each other. Things change. Strategies change. Directions change, People change. Here is a chance to take the temperature again and see of any course corrections are needed. See if you have extra cycles you can spend.
People ALWAYS have extra cycles for something they are passionate about (regardless of how booked they are) and here may be the opportunity for a conversation about your future.
6. What are the half dozen or so areas you expect my support over the coming year?
In my mind this is the best question of the lot. It shows the proper role for the boss. Not someone to drive you and be suspicious of you – but a true partner who is not only looking out for your best interests but who asks how they can help you to be successful.
If you are fortunate, you may get pitched one or even two of these questions in your annual review - but what if these questions WERE your review? Would it make a difference?