“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations”

Ralph Marston

It’s approaching November 2018, we’re heading into the final two months of the year! For many people working in larger companies we are also coming towards the ‘Annual Performance Review’ period. If your performance reviews happen during December you have just 5-7 weeks left to act, and prepare. If they happen in January you’ve got between 9-11 weeks. Are you ready?

·        When did you last look at your annual goals/ performance objectives/ expectations?

·        How are you performing against them?

·        How prepared are you for the conversation with your manager?

·        How well prepared are you for the reviews with members of your team?

·        What are the key things you/they should focus on between now and the end of the year to improve your/their results?

In my years as a leader and employee, a common performance factor I noticed was the variation among members of my team in their ability to track and improve their performance against their annual goals. The ‘high performers’ knew how they were ‘performing’ almost continually, whereas the low to mid-tier performers were just not clear at all. The difference was in their own self-awareness, motivation and the frequency of review/ action towards their goals. This sounds like common sense doesn’t it? To quote Tony Robbins “Common sense, isn’t always common practice.”

“The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being proceeded by a period of worry and depression.”

Sir John Harvey-Jones

Awareness is half the battle, reminding ourselves of our objectives and goals on a regular basis and scheduling time to work specifically on achieving them, is the answer. If you don’t revisit your goals regularly and hold yourself accountable for meeting them, the chances are you won’t achieve them.  The difference in performance between people is very often simply; intention, motivation, planning & action. If you can get yourself intentional about reviewing and meeting your goals, the motivation flows. Making a plan and scheduling the time to ‘Act’ on that plan is the final step. Repeat this often enough, and for long enough (66 times, remember?) and you will find yourself on the path to success.

“The foundation of confidence in virtually every field is preparation”

Brian Tracy

If you are reading this thinking “Well thanks for that, why couldn’t you have shown me this earlier in the year?”. Sorry for the late notice, but it’s not too late. You still have anywhere between 5–11 weeks left to make an impact in this year. You can create your own intention, motivation, plan and action now. Simply scheduling regular time to work on the specific actions you need to take to ‘improve’ your performance between now and the end of the year, gives you power and control. It also sets you up for a ‘running start’ into next year. If you haven’t already done it, the time to start is now.

“Demand more from yourself than anyone else could ever expect”

Tony Robbins

As you look at the highest performers around you, you will notice that they have high expectations of themselves (and others). Their performance ‘stands out’ through the continuous action they take towards their goals. They don’t settle for mediocre performance, they strive to be the best or give their best, with no compromise. The difference is in their attitude, the decision to be the best or give your best, is in all of us, we just need to unleash it. The steps to ‘drive change’ were in a previous article, so I won’t repeat them here, but you can review them if it helps (there is a link at the bottom of this article).

Here are some practical tips on improving your own performance (and the performance of those you lead):

·        Review your goals and check your progress against them

·        Decide which area you most need to improve upon

·        Figure out WHY it’s critical for you to improve your performance in that area

·        Be clear what the improvement looks like and consider; “What’s the one action you could take that will make the biggest impact?”

·        Schedule time every day (or at least every week) for the actions you need to achieve your annual goals

·        Schedule time weekly (or at least monthly) to review your performance against your goals (this is different from the actions you take, this is a review of how you’re performing)

Taking this approach will help you stay focused and in control of your own contribution. It will improve how well you perform towards your goals for the year, and make yours and your manager’s life a lot easier.  Imagine walking into each of your performance reviews completely confident; that you had regularly taken clear action towards your goals, reviewed them yourself and made the best contribution possible in your role! Well it really is that simple and you can make that happen, if you start now.

“Act now. There is never any time but now, and there never will be any time but now”

Wallace D. Wattles

My advice to you is to schedule 20 minutes in your diary now. In that 20 minute appointment with yourself, copy and paste the bullets points above. Use that as your starting point, read through them, let them sink in. Use that time to organise your schedule, create the regular slots of time to work on your goals. If you take this one action it will transform you and your performance, I guarantee it.

As always, I wish you every success in applying this on your own leadership development journey.

Justin Leigh is an accredited Executive Coach and Leadership Mentor. He works with Senior Leaders to develop High Performance organisations. His passion is helping people to become the best they can be. He has worked for large corporations for over 20 years and is experienced in Leadership, Business, Sales & Marketing.

Justin is the Managing Director of Focus4growth Ltd. He can be reached at the following address:

email: [email protected]

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Schedule 15 minutes In your diary, follow the link below, answer the questions and you’ll be starting a process that will change everything.

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Whether you’re new to sales, an experienced sales professional or a leader looking to improve the consistency and performance of your sales organisation, you’ll gain immense value from these articles, the scorecard and the INSPIRE, INFLUENCE, SELL book. Our systems map out a memorable sales process over several steps and also include mastery content for each stage of the system, which will give you deeper insight and expertise. The combination of foundational and specialist material ensures that no matter where you’re starting from, you can become a skilled salesperson.

You might want to work through these articles at the foundational level and return to the Sales Mastery sections once you get to grips with the overall system and have developed your skills. Each article starts with an experience story in which I share relevant, valuable anecdotes. If you prefer to dive straight into the sales system, you can skip that content. These articles are designed to be accessible and flexible, so that you get the most out of them.

As you work through each stage, I suggest you make notes in a journal or notebook. This will help you learn and adopt the content.


Don’t settle for ordinary, if you’re ready let’s start our journey together and your extraordinary transformation. You have greater potential than you ever realised, let’s unlock it!

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