- Ed Koch, who was the Mayor of New York in the 1970s, was famous for walking around the city and asking voters how am I doing? If you're interested in good PR and having your audience think you're a regular guy and creating a memorable catch phrase, that's a good approach. But, if you're looking for measurable evidence that you're succeeding in your job, that's not the way to do it. Yet, so many of us rely on smiles, pats on the back, a kind word, et cetera, to get a sense of whether we're winning at work.
By doing that, we're avoiding hard evidence. Operating with blinders on in the hope that I think they like me will translate into keeping our jobs and/or getting the raise and promotion. If you think that's an effective strategy, you're living in a vacuum, and vacuums are for carpets, not work environments. It's important to actually know if you're winning at your job, and you need to take responsibility for assuring that there's a system in place so that you can determine that.
You don't want any surprises. What you do want is a way to measure your results so that at any time you always know how you're doing. You wouldn't operate a business based purely on good feelings, so, why would you make yourself vulnerable in your job to other people's moods. So, how will you know whether you're winning. Number one, get it in writing from your boss, on or even before your first day on the job what all the quantifiable metrics will be that measure your performance.
It helps a lot if you know what you're aiming for. I had an internship coordinator named Kimberly at one college where I led a team. She was doing an excellent job, how did I know? Because I liked her? Because the rest of our team liked her? Because the students liked her? No, no, and no. And, by the way, every one did like her. But how she and I knew she was winning at her job was because the percentage of students she was placing in internships was over 95 percent every single semester.
In order to make her job more interesting, I designed additional metrics she could shoot for every month. These included, how many students did she meet with? How many students got interviews for internship positions? How many new companies did she contact every month in order to expand the choices available to our students? How many of those companies began working with us? How often did they need interns? And how many did they need every year? Kimberly had never used these sorts of metrics before, and she found it a good way to number one keep score, and number two, impact her ability to place even more than 95 percent of our students in internships.
She began to hit 100 percent. Not only did she get even better at her job, but the additional metrics made the game that much more interesting. She was more engaged in her work. I helped make the job more fun for her. That incidentally, is an important part of a boss' function. To keep your staff from getting bored. To challenge them in new ways. All so they can stay engaged. As an employee, this is something you can source. Don't wait for your boss to hand you new work.
If you're getting your job done, ask for more challenges. I'm always grateful when my employees want to stretch and grow their capabilities and skill sets. But, before you do all that, what you want in place is a plan in writing of your tasks and goals 30, 60, and 90 days out. If your boss is any good, he or she will appreciate that you're willing to take responsibility for your success and professional enough to want to chart it. Then, after your 90-day probationary period, you'll both really know how you're doing.
- Planning for a new job
- Establishing expectations for a new role
- Being a reliable employee
- Measuring performance success
- Developing professional relationships at work
- Finding mentors
- Meeting the extended team
- Bonding with new teammates
- Keeping a beginner's mind