27 September 2023

Give your goals a mid-year check-up

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May Busch* says whether or not your organisation has a formal mid-year review, it pays to be proactive and conduct your own ‘reverse review’ to assess progress.

The middle of the year is a great time to review progress toward your goals for 2022 and assess what you need for a strong finish.

Maybe your organisation has a formal mid-year review process where your manager gives you feedback.

Perhaps you do this on your own.

Either way, don’t make the mistake of letting it all stop there.

What most people don’t do is take mid-year as an opportunity to reach out to their sponsors, mentors and other key stakeholders to have a strategic conversation about how things are going.

Think of this as a ‘reverse’ mid-year review.

A mid-year review is usually given to you by your manager, while a reverse mid-year review is where you proactively bring your review to others.

Specifically, to the people who have a say in how your career progresses, your promotion prospects, your compensation and access to resources.

This doesn’t mean sharing all the gory details of the feedback you’ve gotten in your formal mid-year review, rather the strategic version you choose to share in a businesslike manner.

By initiating these strategic conversations with the stakeholders who matter most in your professional life, you’re achieving three important goals.

Building trusted relationships:

When you keep people updated on your progress and aspirations, they’re more likely to feel they have a stake in your progress.

If your update includes what you’ve accomplished, based on their guidance and support, they’ll be more inclined to double down on that support.

It’s like hearing a story, and every time you meet with them, it’s another chapter or episode.

They’ll want to hear more of the story unfold.

Getting senior-level advice:

It’s especially valuable to get guidance while there’s still time for a mid-course correction.

What was a priority in January may no longer be one by the end of the year, and your sponsors and mentors may be in the best position to clue you in.

Advocating for yourself in a natural way:

You are sharing where things stand at mid-year, including what you have accomplished and what you expect to focus on in the second half.

The latter could include setting yourself up for the next promotion, closing a big client deal, or anything else that senior stakeholders might be able to help with.

So what do you include in your reverse mid-year review?

A simple way to start is with a succinct update on what you’ve achieved so far this year and how it links back to your organisation’s objectives.

Focus on how you’re adding value, not just how hard you’re working.

Talk about your achievements with your audience in mind — what does this senior stakeholder care about and how has your work contributed to that?

Then you’ll want to remind them of your aspirations, whether that’s growing your responsibilities, positioning yourself for a big promotion or expanding the organisation’s presence.

Having given your senior stakeholder the review of how far you’ve come and where you want to head, you can naturally ask for any advice they have for hitting your targets.

As part of this, it’s fair game to talk about the challenges and opportunities you see ahead and get their input on how best to navigate them.

If it hasn’t come up already, make sure you express gratitude for their support.

Be specific if you can.

Thanking your senior stakeholders is a perfect lead-in to talking about what their priorities are and how you can support them in achieving their goals.

As part of this, you’ll also learn what’s on their minds, so even if there’s no obvious way you can help at the moment, you’ll be able to look for ways to add value in the future.

Whether or not there’s a formal mid-year review process, you can still do your own reverse mid-year review.

Your reverse mid-year review doesn’t have to be formal.

Often, the less formal the better.

Think of it as an opportunity to self-assess where things stand and have a series of catch up conversations.

So don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

What matters is that you do it.

Frame it as a business conversation and your stakeholders will be happy to talk to you.

*May Busch works with smart entrepreneurs and top managements to build their businesses. She can be contacted at [email protected].

This article first appeared at maybusch.com.

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