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Style question: should I write my own review in first person or third person? (that is, "I did this.." or "John did this.."?)

John

WillDuke's picture

I'd go first person. If your boss is going to re-use it, then s/he can do the word replacement. :)

thaGUma's picture

Third way - not 'I reduced costs by xxx' or 'John reduced costs by xxx but 'Reduced costs by xxx'.

Chris

steven_martin's picture

I like the “reduced costs by …” as well. It is concise.

I have a problem with others who refer to themselves in the third person. It does not seem genuine to me.

juliahhavener's picture

Last year I made a list Chris' way. Just what was done - it was self explanatory that I did them.

tomw's picture

[quote="donnachie"]Third way - not 'I reduced costs by xxx' or 'John reduced costs by xxx but 'Reduced costs by xxx'.

Chris[/quote]

My problem with that is that it does not say "who." There is a big difference between "The team I am a part of reduced costs...", "The people I manage reduced costs...", and "I reduced costs." Any of these could be on your review and described by "Reduced costs..."

There are questions possible when the pronoun is left off. I also think speaking in the third person sounds pretentious, so I would go for the first person.

juliahhavener's picture

Tom, that's true - but if I have a bulleted list, I know what I did, what my team did, and what a project team did. Last year I was an individual contributor. This year I am not. Since my list is closely related to my resume, it's a simple translation. If it's me, it's just itemized. If it's my team, it says so, likewise with a project team.

Mark's picture

Ahhh, what a great discussion...

And everybody's missing the neat little connection between your review and...[b]your resume[/b].

You are NOT writing your review. Your boss does that. You are chronicling your accomplishments, and the form just happens to be the review.

Write those accomplishments in the tense used for your resume:

"Achieved..."

"Reduced..."

And when there is potential for conflict, get more specific:

"Contributed to..."

"Led team which increased...."

Mark

juliahhavener's picture

True - I didn't write my review last year. I did give my boss a list of all of my accomplishments. Primarily because I had worked for her for 4 months, and knew that my previous boss had not kept the detailed notes I had. It made a HUGE difference in the review she was able to compile.

Sorry I wasn't clear on that. Some of the stuff was not included in my resume (for instance, my resume indicated my adjunct trainer status and total number of students, my list indicated each class taught), and some was important to my boss, but not to a prospective employer.

steven_martin's picture

Mark, what is your opinion on people that refer to themselves in the first person? I can see some cases where it might be called for, writing a bio but it scares me when I see it in a interview.

jhack's picture

Thanks, everyone. Very helpful!

John

Mark's picture

Steven-

I don't get it. First person is "I".

Mark

steven_martin's picture

Sorry Mark I should have said third person as in "Steven needs to pay more attention to details".

s

Mark's picture

I can't imagine it ever being terribly effective. Using it in an interview would just be bizarre and interview killing.

Mark

jhack's picture

Another question:

Should one include areas to work on / development needs?

(It's part of the perf review form. Should I address it?)

John

juliahhavener's picture

I leave that part up to my boss. It tells me if they're paying attention.

dhkramer's picture

If you address areas to work on you

1) help your boss

2) control the process, or at least steer it

3) identify areas that you have already targeted for improvement

4) show that you are a self-aware employee committed to lifetime learning.

Lord knows we could all use a few of those #4s.

jhack's picture

Keep the ideas coming, please....

And, I want to ensure that my development plan includes attendance at the NYC Manager Tools Conference!

So exactly when is that conference, again?

John

ccleveland's picture

For development/need to improve areas:

I include them to show what I have improved upon. Take care in reporting "future" development areas where you have taken no action. It's a good to show that you recognize [u]and[/u] take advantage of opportunities for improvement. Just pointing out flaws without action to improve them can put an unnecessarily negative mark on your review.

CC

Mark's picture

Boy, there sure does sound like a lot of gaming the system going on here.

Leave it blank. THAT is not a review of your performance, it is a value judgment (one can hope) on the part of your boss, and as such is outside of your purpose.

Remember: you are NOT writing your review. You are providing material to help your boss write one. The fact that you are using the form is only to make the process efficient for your boss. Please don't confuse using the form with actually writing the thing.

Leave it blank.

Mark

[the NYC dates aren't set yet. Amsterdam and Chicago, yes...but others soon to follow. Please can I have a day off once a quarter? ;-))))) ]

juliahhavener's picture

No days off, Mark! Unless it's for golf. I think we can allow a wee bit of fun.

::ducks and runs::

jhack's picture

Mark, I was trying to convey excitement at the prospect, not impatience with the progress...

Thanks for everything.

John

dhkramer's picture

You need to provide information to your manager on your weaknesses, same as on your accomplishments.

It's not gaming the system, it's making your manager more efficient and accurate. He or she is free to write what they want.

dk

thaGUma's picture

Surely you should be able to identify areas you personally feel need work? When you review your work over the year - there are going to be a lot of items not done or not done as well as you'd like.

If you leave it blank, are you a) not interested in developing or b) assuming that your boss has enough time to correctly supervise? Either way you miss an oppertunity.
Chris

davidleeheyman's picture

I may have missed something with regards to preparing my own review.

We do our annual reviews mid-year. So I've been working through the materials in this 'cast and am now about to reach the part where I prepare the review packet.

First: I'm using the form provided but at the end it seems to suggest that after using this form we are to then provide our boss with the filled out form. Is this the case?

Second: Should I be organizing the material I'll be providing according to the format of the evaluation form my boss will need to complete?

Third: In this 'cast the suggestion is to use the SumEx and SEER methods from the 'cast about writing someone else's review.

Mark rightfully points out here in the forum that we aren't writing our own review but rather preparing information for our boss to use in their review. As such, are the SEER and SumEx formats really appropriate? Wouldn't that lead to something like "I am your best customer service director. I consistently exceeds every standard. I recently turned around a teams efficiency after three other directors had failed. I'm an example you ought to put on training videos."?

davidleeheyman's picture

*ping*

jhack's picture

pong....

You're providing your boss with the material for the form. Unless she wants it filled in, don't.

Organizing it to make it easier for your boss seems like a good idea.

Nothing wrong with SumEX or SEER per se.

However, your examples aren't good. "I'm your best..." you shouldn't compare yourself to others.

"I consistently exceed every standard" Perhaps (and good for you if you do!), although you should treat them separately, and give specific examples. "I exceeded our quality standard by delivering 98%...."

Describe HOW you turned around a struggling team. No need to mention previous failures (your boss knows).

Last one needs no comment.

Less "I" and more "Team"

Does that help?

John

davidleeheyman's picture

Thanks for the response John.

My example was actually just taking the SuMEX example and replacing I for the person's name.

The form I was referring to is the one that M&M have posted on Manager Tools. So I used the form to take my notes through the process but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to present this data to my manager.

I'm actually looking for more information on the structure to use to provide my manager with this information.

Do I put together a document with bullet points of the highlights of the information I gathered and reference included copies of the supporting documents and emails? Putting that much information in front of my manager is likely to get it ignored.

Do I just put together the bullet points and note that I have the supporting information available?

HMac's picture

David - Does the process include meeting with your boss (I sincerely hope it does, but you never know....)?

If so, I'd send material with just enough information needed to help him prep for the meeting (e.g., bulleted descriptions of accomplishments that he may later cut and paste into a final document).

If your experience tells you there's a limit to how much he'll read and how much he'll ignore, then don't make it harder for him by sending him more than he'll look at. Probably the best approach is to state that you have gathered the necessary information for supporting each accomplishment, and will provide it if he wants it.

But in my mind, everything's about setting up for the meeting - for the face to face discussion - about your performance. Think about everything you can do to "prewire" that meeting...

-Hugh

Mark's picture

All-

I am not sure I am following this thread now, but as best I can figure, there is some confusion regarding our form and the form your boss fills out.

DO NOT SHARE OUR FORM WITH YOUR BOSS.

OUr form is a data capture/historical recap document. Filling it out is NOT writing your review.

Regarding writing your review, it depends on the form your firm uses. As a general rule, I would fill out the form AS IF MY BOSS WERE WRITING IT ABOUT ME. There are some situations that I might hesitate on - it would depend upon what I knew about the culture and the boss.

So, SUMEX or SEER need not be changed. You would rank yourself as fairly as you believed possible, giving yourself the benefit of the doubt in all cases, and back up such with statements that might read like, "Joe recently delivered one project early and under budget, saving us $35,000 in contractor programming fees." Or, "Joe's analysis on the Acme merger kept us from choosing a healthcare provider which would have increased costs 30% immediately."

Mark

davidleeheyman's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]
DO NOT SHARE OUR FORM WITH YOUR BOSS.

OUr form is a data capture/historical recap document. Filling it out is NOT writing your review.

Regarding writing your review, it depends on the form your firm uses. As a general rule, I would fill out the form AS IF MY BOSS WERE WRITING IT ABOUT ME. There are some situations that I might hesitate on - it would depend upon what I knew about the culture and the boss.
[/quote]

Thanks. This clarifies it for me. I was looking at the last page of the MT form and it started to look like it was meant for me to show my boss.

Mark's picture

Yikes!

That last page was one of our periodic attempts at encouraging sharing of that document with others - I think we were thinking "viral". Guess we weren't too clear.

Mark