What’s the first thing you want to do after your boss
compliments you on something you did at work?
Of course, the first thing you want to say is “thank you”. These two words, taught to us ever since we were old enough to speak, are a powerful way to show our appreciation and humility.
The second thing you may want to do is celebrate. After all, your boss noticed your hard work and gave you some great feedback about what you did.
But what about after you treat yourself to coffee and pat yourself on the back? The answer: Make notes in a performance journal. We’ve all heard the stats on how writing down goals increases the chance of achieving them. But, let me ask you this: When was the last time you made note of, or had someone else make note of, the reasons behind the great work you’ve done? And what would you say if I suggested that making notes in a performance journal could lead to good performance at work on a consistent basis?
Let’s look at how you can use a performance journal to capture
the great feedback you receive to become a high-performer on a consistent
Keep a running record of your successes and challenges
According to research by the Harvard Business School, reflecting and making note of your successes, challenges, and the reasons behind them can boost performance. The research also suggests that putting our thoughts down enables us to learn better from the events that happened and visualize what we can do moving forward – and all it takes is a few minutes a day to reflect and write what you’ve learned.
The lesson here is to use a performance journal and document your successes and challenges on a consistent basis. The more information you capture on a regular basis, the more you will learn about what led to success (or in some cases, failure). The process of writing down or typing out what you’ve observed helps builds awareness and facilitates personal growth. It literally gives you the opportunity to stop and think.
As well as you might have done on a project, there’s always room for improvement. Ask other team members, “Is there anything I could have done better or differently?” Document this feedback in your performance journal. You can then add this information to your personal development plan and look at possible ways to improve your performance with some training, if you need to.
Look at the process, not the outcome
When evaluating your own performance, don’t get caught up in the outcome. There’s a scene from the movie Days of Thunder that explains this perfectly. Please bear with me here.
Cole Trickle, a young up-and-coming NASCAR driver, drives a little too recklessly for the likes of his crew chief, Harry Hogge. Even though Cole can finish a race with good speed and timing, his driving behavior shreds and melts the tires on his car. This causes him to lose control of the car at times, which is dangerous. Harry explains to Cole that he needs to drive the car differently to keep the tires intact in order for him to finish races with better timing.
The outcome (finishing the race with a good time) is still the desired result, but the difference is in how Cole achieves that goal. In the end, the process, when done right, will lead to good outcomes. (Spoiler alert: Harry’s way of driving was six seconds faster than Cole’s.)
Recognizing what lead to the great work you did is one of the most important steps you can do to consistently apply the same behavior. Your environment – the work you do and the people you work with – has a significant impact on your performance. To help you uncover the reasons why your boss gave you good feedback, ask yourself the following questions:
- What kinds of projects or team members bring out the best in me?
- What am I passionate about?
- What kind of management or supervision helps me perform at my best?
Put down as much information as you can in your performance journal so you’re prepared to talk about them during your next one-on-one meeting with your manager. Taking this initiative will be really helpful for your manager because it opens the floor to talk about how you can replicate your high-performance down the road.
Be a consistent high-performer
The great thing about feedback is there’s always something we can learn from and apply in the future. If you let your manager know what you’re truly passionate about and the kind of work that drives you to be your best, the more chances you’ll have to do that type of work, whenever it's possible, practical and feasible.
And you’ll set yourself up to perform like a superstar time and time again. This behavior will not only ensure the quality of your work remains solid, but also to inspire and encourage high performance in others at your workplace.