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by Vault Consulting Editors | March 24, 2011


By Kristine Schoonmaker, MyConsultingLife.Com

The first time I heard a senior executive say if you really care about your performance you’ll write your own review, I nearly choked. I remember thinking how ridiculous it sounded. If I was going to bust it all year long, was it really that unreasonable to expect my manager to take the time to put in writing how well I performed? Over time, I came to realize I was thinking about it all wrong.

Perhaps the message he was really trying to send was that if you have strong expectations or feel passionately about the outcome, why would you leave it to someone else? You should take an active role, every step of the way. If you were going to build your "dream house," would you just write a blank check to the builder and tell them to do whatever they think would be good and just let you know when it’s done? Of course not!

Here are a few reasons why I changed my tune about writing your own performance review…

It’s not just about you. To you, your performance rating may be THE most important thing, but it’s only one of many things your manager has on their plate. As a consultant, my career counselor had 5 or 6 counselees, was typically leading 2 project teams at once, and changed clients somewhere between 1 and 3 times per year. Even with some pretty conservative math, that could easily be upwards of 12-14 people she was responsible to provide feedback on in a given performance cycle, all in addition to her "day job." That’s a lot of detail to track. I’m pretty sure she probably had her own performance rating on the brain as well.
Managers really don’t know everything. You are the only one that is involved in everything you do in a day, week, month or year. Any good manager will be well-aware of the work you are doing, but helping them write your review is a great way to also educate them on the things they didn’t see that made a difference—the support you gave a team member to build their skills, amazing kudos you received from a client, or even a side project you took on because you saw a need. These are the types of details that can help set you apart from your peers, but to make a difference in your performance rating, your manager needs to know about them.
You can influence your destiny. Consulting, in particular, can give you a lot of flexibility to drive the direction of your career. Rather than consider writing your review a chore, perhaps it’s a great opportunity. You know where you want to go. If you’ve been proactive and understand what it takes to get there, this offers a way to provide the evidence to support it. If you want to get promoted, if you want to change the type of work you do, or if you just want more accountability, being involved in writing your review can give you a platform to highlight all the reasons you’re ready.

Whether you’re jumping on the bandwagon to write your review or not, check back next week to learn what you can do to help your boss give you a great performance rating.

is The Career & Lifestyle Coach for Consultants and founder of Her bi-weekly ezine Accelerate offers practical insider advice and quick tips from a former consulting exec to help YOU take greater control of your career and stay engaged in your personal life from the road. If you’re ready to have it all – an amazing career in consulting without giving up the lifestyle, relationships and experiences you want, get your FREE subscription now at


Filed Under: Consulting