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Get the Most from Your Performance Review

by Michael Chaffers

It’s that time of year. Time for your monthly, quarterly, or yearly performance evaluation. Be sure to maximise your chances for a "win-win" negotiation. Before you sit down to talk, be aware of the following three myths.

Myth #1:
It’s all about money

It’s your performance review and the number one item on the agenda is salary. Your focus should be on next year’s salary, bonuses, and stock options. Addressing any other issue will divert attention from the most important one: financial compensation.

Everything is negotiable

Every performance review is an opportunity to discuss all aspects of your job. Before your meeting, create a list of items that will make your job more fulfilling. Think beyond salary. Consider asking for the following:

  • more technological support
  • flex time
  • telecommuting opportunities
  • a new manager
  • a bigger office
  • a more comprehensive benefits package
  • insurance
  • paid travel expenses to take your family to the next conference.

There are so many ways to be compensated. Don’t limit yourself to seeking just financial rewards. Use this opportunity to put all of the items on the table and discuss ways to satisfy both you and your boss.

Myth #2:
You have to play hardball to get what you want

You figure nice guys finish last, so you are prepared to play hardball. You plan to make extreme demands, concede stubbornly, and make threats. This is the only way to get what you want.

Playing hardball inhibits your ability to be successful

Hard bargaining comes with a high price. Even if your immediate demands are met, this tactic can damage relationships. Think about the last time you dealt with a hardball negotiator. Chances are you felt defensive and threatened. Remember, threats lead to counter-threats, and the last thing you want is for the negotiation to come to an impasse because of negative emotions. Instead, be firm but flexible. Be straightforward and collaborative. The best negotiations are based on compromise. Your goal is to sustain your working relationship. This is key to getting what you want.

Myth #3:
Preparation doesn’t matter

You’ve been thinking about what you want since your last performance review. So after the date is set, you don’t need to prepare. You know exactly what you’re going to say. Besides, you don’t want to seem too rehearsed.

Preparation is critical for success

It takes time to prepare for your negotiation. You cannot over prepare. You need to know exactly what you want and what you are willing to compromise on. Practice your presentation with a friend before going into a negotiation.

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