Cliff Montgomery: Job Hunting and Career Planning
Q&A with the career coach
“Q&A with the career coach” is a series of articles featuring questions from readers and clients and answers from 42-year human resource veteran and career coach Cliff Montgomery. Future questions can be submitted to him at his address below.
Q: Next month, I will have my annual performance appraisal discussion with my manager who, unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of respect for. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to make it less anxiety producing?
A: Appraisals like this are never easy and do tend to produce some uncomfortable anticipation with the employee and, believe it or not, the manager, as well. This being said, I do have some ideas for you.
First, take a deep breath and commit yourself to making this a positive experience no matter what happens and with a mindset of “what can I learn from this?” If you haven’t already by way of your appraisal system, at least two or more weeks before your appraisal, make sure you provide your manager with an in-depth list of your accomplishments for the year to assure he is fully aware of what you have achieved. It can also serve to guide you in the discussion.
Do your best to stay calm. Unless something is said that attacks your ethics or integrity, try not to be defensive. If something is said you don’t agree with, be sure to ask for specifics or examples of where and when this “behavior” occurred. As difficult as it may be, do your best to end the discussion positively, thanking him for his input. Lastly, remember that no matter what you say, you’re not going to change him, and if you’re confrontational, he may hold it against you. Remember why you never try to teach a pig to sing ... ultimately they won’t sing, and it annoys the pig. Good luck.
Q: I am the owner of my own business and have been having trouble designing a “vision” for my company. Any ideas to suggest?
A: First, I applaud you on your effort. Many people launch a company and never stop to determine where they’re really going. To begin with, a vision is a written picture of what success will look like for you at some time in the future, say three years.
Questions you might ask yourself are: What products and services will I provide my customers? What are your values? How will you feel about your business? How will others describe it? What you’ll be proud of? The answers to these, and similar questions, should be inspiring, but also strategically sound, meaning you have a reasonable chance of achieving them. The good news about creating a vision is that it will focus you, and assure you don’t get sidetracked on other things along the way that at the time, may seem “interesting.”
Send your questions to Clifford E. Montgomery, executive and career coach in New Hope. He can be reached at 215-862-5553 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is montgomerycareercoaching.com.
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