Episode 37: Navigating Your Year-End Review

The Less Stressed Lawyer with Olivia Vizachero | Navigating Your Year-End Review

We aren’t at the end of the year just yet, but it’s time to start thinking about it seriously. Year-end reviews are a love-hate relationship topic. Whether it’s writing your end-of-year memo, highlighting your achievements, meeting with your supervisors, or processing year-end feedback, you’re probably not thrilled about what’s coming your way.

If this sounds familiar, you’re in the right place because I’m talking all about navigating the year-end review process if you’re the person being reviewed, as well as working through this process if you’re the one reviewing others within an organization, so you can show up with intentionality, whatever role you’re playing.

Tune in this week to discover how to navigate your year-end reviews with confidence and how to create a process for giving year-end reviews if that’s part of your role. I’m sharing the prep you can do as we near the end of the year, the mindset you need to be able to advocate for yourself, and how to create a process for selling yourself.

If you’re interested in taking the coaching topics I discuss on the show a step further, get on the waitlist for the Less Stressed Lawyer Mastermind. This is a six-month group coaching program where you’ll be surrounded by a community of like-minded individuals from the legal industry, pushing you to become the best possible version of yourself. You can get all the information and apply by clicking here

I have a few masterclasses planned for the remainder of 2022! November 29th is all about how to be confident. And December 16th, we’re going to work on setting the pace for 2023 by learning to stop tolerating the parts of your life you don’t love. All of the masterclasses are at noon Eastern Time, so mark your calendars.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The importance of having a personal process in place for your end-of-year review.
  • What the year-end review process looked like when I worked in Big Law.
  • Some of the common objections and problems that come up around advocating for yourself during year-end reviews.
  • How to create a year-end memo of your own, so you can navigate your year-end review with a lot more intentionality.
  • The preparation you can do throughout the year to get yourself ready for your year-end review.
  • How to cultivate the right thoughts and mindset to take into your year-end review process, so you can leave a remarkable impression on your superiors.
  • Some important things to keep in mind if you’re the one performing the year-end reviews for others and how to give effective feedback.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast, Episode 37. We’re talking all about navigating your year-end reviews. You ready? Let’s go.

Welcome to The Less Stressed Lawyer, the only podcast that teaches you how to manage your mind so you can live a life with less stress and far more fulfillment. If you’re a lawyer who’s over the overwhelm and tired of trying to hustle your way to happiness, you’re in the right place. Now, here’s your host, lawyer turned life coach, Olivia Vizachero.

Hi, my babes. How are we doing today? I hope all is well with you. It’s been a busy few weeks over here. I’ve been launching the Mastermind, and that’s been so exciting to see the new cohort coming together. I cannot wait to be in Charleston with everyone who joined. I think it’s really fun to think about what we’re going to create in the new year together; what we’re going to make out of 2023.

I like to say, you know, “Let’s make 2023 one for the books.” I really intend to do that with this group, and with all of my one-on-one clients, too. But I just really cannot wait to dive in and make the most out of the new year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to wait until the first of the year to make plans for the next year. I really think the January 1st is sort of too late, you’re already behind the eight ball a little bit. So, I love to line up my year right now.

I actually just applied and was accepted to my business coach’s mastermind, which kicks off in January. And it’s just such a relief to have that squared away. To know exactly what I’m going to be doing for my personal development, my business development, in the new year. So, it’s not something I need to think about anymore. I just really love that.

If you’re looking to invest in yourself, which is what the last episode was about, and you really want to join a program where it’s kind of all figured out for you. So, you don’t have to do the heavy lifting, figuring out what you need to grow, what you need to learn in order to develop. I do all that work for you. So, if you’re looking to have your 2023 dialed in, go to my website, TheLessStressedLawyer.com, head on over to the Mastermind page, and join; join me in Charleston, in 2023.

Speaking of New Year’s and years that are coming to an end, one of the topics that I talk to my clients about a ton, especially this time of year, is year-end reviews. This is a hotly contested kind of like love-hate relationship topic. A lot of people dread this time of year. Whether it’s writing their end of year memo, highlighting their achievements, meeting with their supervisors.

Or, maybe you have to do reviews for someone else, because you’re a supervisor. Maybe you have to advocate for yourself, or you want to advocate for yourself, but it feels really uncomfortable. Or, you get feedback, and that process is really hard.

You probably might not be thrilled about what’s coming down the pike. So, if that’s you, if that really resonates with you, that’s what I want to talk about in this episode. All right, I’m gonna break this episode up into two different stages. I want to talk first about navigating the year and review process if you’re someone who is being reviewed. And then, I’ll get into how to navigate it if you’re someone who is reviewing others.

Okay, so if you’re being reviewed, the first place that we want to check in, is do you have some sort of formal process that’s in place for your annual review? And if you don’t, I really want to encourage you to come up with one. I think that this is actually a really meaningful part of your year. And, not a lot of employers think through and create a formal process.

So, if your employer doesn’t have that, I want you to think about it and come up with one yourself. Now, you don’t have to create companywide change. You can just make sure that you do this for yourself. So, you’re really taking advantage of any opportunity that you have to advocate for yourself, creating that opportunity, perhaps.

But you want to make sure that you leverage these annual potentials to make more money, to get promoted, to have better opportunity, all of that. So, create a formal process if you don’t have one.

If you do have one, now these might differ, the different ranges of a formal process. When I worked in big law, we had a really formal process. So, you had to, as an associate, draft a year-end memo highlighting all of your achievements and your contributions to the firm. And then, you met with your practice group leader, and you discussed your year-end memo. Then, they went to the compensation committee and advocated on your behalf for whatever your bonus was going to be.

As much as, if I’m being really honest, I dreaded that process while I was there, I really have come to appreciate it; how formal it is. And when supervisors are managing a lot of people it’s really hard for them to A; remember all of your accomplishments throughout the year, and to know, in detail, the level of contribution that you gave to the organization.

So, I talk to a lot of people who are like, “I shouldn’t have to do this. My supervisor should know.” I really want to caution you, if that is your mindset with this, they’re not going to know the same way that you know; it’s your life. It’s your career. You’re the person who’s best situated to remember these things, best situated to advocate for yourself. It is not a problem that you need to advocate for yourself, or that you should advocate for yourself.

Now, if your firm doesn’t require year-end memos, or your organization doesn’t require year-end memos, I recommend you create one. Either to submit to a supervisor, or at least, to have yourself, so you can navigate your year-end review with a lot more intentionality.

Okay, so go through and highlight: What are the big successes you’ve had? What are the areas of growth that you have experienced, or that you’ve encountered? What do you know how to do better than you knew how to do the year before?

If you’re in private practice, you might talk about originations that you had receivables, notable matters, any public facing media worthy cases or files that you worked on; you’d highlight all of that. And it creates this concise document where all of your accomplishments live.

I actually have a really good friend, she has a folder in her email inbox that she adds things to throughout the year, to make this process so much easier come year-end. So, you could send yourself emails when you do something that’s notable. Or, when you get praise from a client, or from one of the people that you work with. You drop it in that kudos folder, and then when it comes time to create this year-end memo, you’ve got everything right there; it’s so convenient.

Also, if you tend to beat yourself up, which a lot of my clients do, it’s really nice to have that kudos folder to review when your day is not going so hot, and you’re kind of down on yourself, and you’re feeling a little inadequate. It’s really nice to have that receptacle of all your noteworthy moments and all your praiseworthy achievements.

Now, let’s talk about mindset. Because if you go in to advocate for yourself, just orally, or you’re creating a year-end memo, like the one I just described to you, and you’re thinking thoughts, like; I hate talking about myself, this is stupid, I shouldn’t have to do this, it won’t make a difference, I don’t have time for this, and this is a waste of my time.

If you’re thinking any of those thoughts, then this is what’s going to happen: You’re going to feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, awkward, annoyed, probably pretty resentful, and definitely disengaged. You might even feel discouraged, or overwhelmed, or frustrated, or bothered.

If you’re feeling those emotions, when it comes to completing this year-end review process, even if it comes to not writing a memo like this, but just meeting with your supervisors and going through the year-end review process that way. If you’re thinking those thoughts and you’re feeling those feelings, then here’s what you end up doing: You squander an opportunity to sell yourself, all right?

You’ve heard me say it, time and time again, your thoughts create your results. Because your thoughts cause your feelings, your feelings drive your actions, and your actions produce your results. So, if you’re thinking these negative thoughts, and you’re conjuring up these negative emotions, because of the thoughts that you’re thinking, you’re going to take really negative action.

You’re not going to advocate well, so you’re really going to squander this opportunity that you have, to highlight your achievements. You aren’t going to make a compelling argument about you deserving a raise, about you deserving a promotion, about you deserving a bigger bonus.

You’re really going to undersell yourself. You’re not going to be inspiring confidence. You’re not going to compel people to advocate on your behalf. If people that you work with need to go speak to their higher-ups and make a compelling case for you, you’re not going to do that. So, you’re really going to undersell. You’re going to present yourself in an underwhelming manner.

And, that’s not going to leave a really remarkable impression on the people that are decision makers about your future; whether it’s income or opportunity. You really want to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward. And if you’re thinking all of these negative thoughts and feeling these negative feelings, you’re not going to make that compelling argument that moves people to support you, to advocate for you, to reward you, any of that.

Here’s what we want to do instead. We want to make sure that you are never squandering advancement opportunities. So, we want to make sure that you’re making the most out of any chance that you have to self-advocate.

The first thing we have to do, in order to do that, is change your thoughts about the self-advocacy opportunity itself. Because you won’t take it seriously if you keep telling yourself that it’s a joke, right? That’s what a lot of people think about this process; that it’s a joke, that it’s not meaningful, that it doesn’t matter, that it’s stupid.

I tend to think that that’s a defense mechanism if I’m being really honest. It’s like, if we make light of this situation, then if it doesn’t go our way, it doesn’t have as much of an emotional impact. But I like to tell people to take every opportunity that they have for self-advancement and self-advocacy very seriously.

If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else is going to. So, you want to make sure that you do take these moments really seriously. I don’t mean so seriously that you obsess over them; and that becomes problematic. But seriously enough to where you show up meaningfully to these conversations; whether it’s in writing, or through oral advocacy.

But you’re taking it seriously enough to really put your best foot forward and make an effort here. All right. So, we want to overhaul the way that you think about talking about yourself. Because if you keep telling yourself that you hate it, or that it’s hard, or that you don’t want to do it, you won’t do it. Or, you won’t do it well. At the very least, you’ll do it but not do it well.

But a lot of people, when they think this way about it and they have that sense of dread, because of their thoughts about self-advocacy, they never self-advocate; they just avoid it altogether. And, that’s what we want to make sure that you don’t do this year.

So, you have to start believing that it’s okay to speak about what you’ve accomplished. I talk to so many clients who are super uncomfortable talking about themselves. It’s one of the things that I always ask people really new in our work together; how do you feel talking about yourself? And drama normally comes up, through like; I’m not good at it. I don’t like to do it. I got taught that it’s really rude and arrogant. I was raised to be humble and not conceited.

So, they think that it’s a really bad thing to talk about themselves, when of course it’s not, especially in your professional career. And there’s a huge difference between being arrogant and just advocating for yourself. So, don’t conflate the two.

But if you were taught this growing up, that it’s rude, or improper to talk about yourself, you really want to a question that. Where did it come from? Who taught you that? Where did they learn it? Does it serve you? If your answer is no, it doesn’t serve you. And you realize that the people that taught it to you also learned some messed-up stuff about self-advocacy, then you can politely return these negative beliefs about self-advocacy.

What I see a lot of times, is that people, especially women, learned that it was impolite or not gracious to talk about yourself. That just keeps existing structures of power in power. So, if you’re a woman and you’re listening to this, and this doesn’t just relate to women, this relates to a lot of people, but I see it most prevalently with women.

So, if you’re a woman and you’re listening to this, I highly encourage you to do an overhaul on what you think about talking about yourself. You need to see it as your job, as your responsibility, as something that is completely acceptable. But for you, then whom? Right? I really want to encourage you to think that it’s no one else’s job, but yours to sing your praises.

I watch a lot of people expect their supervisors to do this for them. And with love, I think that’s kind of phoning it in; you’re really not taking responsibility, or ownership over whose role this is. And, it’s your role. It’s your job to sing your own praises, to advocate for yourself, to make the case. Okay? No one else’s.

It’s amazing if someone else supports you, if they mentor you, if they sponsor you. That’s kind of the buzzword over the past couple of years; sponsorship. Where someone’s really willing to go to bat for you and advocate on your behalf. But we don’t want to rely on that. It’s amazing if it happens. We just don’t want that to be the only ticket in town.

You want to be advocating for yourself, and if anyone else joins in, amazing. But we’re not going to rely on that alone. Also, I can’t state this enough, but I really want you to be assured that you’re the best person to talk about yourself. You are uniquely situated to intelligently talk about your accomplishments; you are going to know them more intimately than absolutely anyone else. So, you are the best person for this job.

Now, once you’ve overhauled your thinking in these two ways; so, you’ve changed your thoughts about this being a wasteful, stupid, worthless opportunity. And you who are now thinking of it as a unique opportunity for you to really highlight your notable moments from the year, your remarkable moments throughout the year. Your contributions that added a lot of value to your organization.

Once you started thinking about it in that way, and then you’ve accepted that it’s your responsibility to be the person who advocates on your behalf. And you’ve made peace with the fact that it’s not rude or arrogant to sing your own praises, to advocate for yourself. Then, what we have to do is we have to address your self-concept, we’ve got to give it a tune up.

Because if you don’t think highly of yourself, very candidly, yourself advocacy is going to suck. So, you really need to be your own hype person. In order to be effective as your own hype person, you want to start by finding out what you currently think about yourself, and your abilities, and what you’ve accomplished. As you do that, as you flesh out what your current self-concept is; what do you think about you, and the job you’re doing?

If it’s negative, we’ve got to make improvements. Otherwise, like I said, your self-advocacy is really going to come up short. So, you want to start talking to yourself in a manner where you’re highlighting; how capable you are, how accomplished you are, how proud of yourself you are, all that you’ve done, how remarkable that it is.

This isn’t to blow smoke up your “you know where”. But it’s to be a truth teller. To paint a picture of the ways that you’ve contributed, and the accomplishments that you’ve amassed throughout the year. You want to highlight all of that, and really sell yourself on how incredible you are.

Now, if you struggle to do this, what we want to start doing is defining what a good enough job is; we have to start there. I’ve done a whole podcast episode on “Defining Enough”. Because it’s really hard to feel accomplished if you don’t know what accomplishment looks like, or what you’re aiming for to begin with.

You want to define what a good enough job is, and then you want to evaluate yourself: Did I do it? Did I not? And you want to give heavy emphasis on all of the things that you did really well throughout the year. Okay?

Once you’ve done this, and you’ve identified what you’ve done well, how you’ve succeeded, your confidence is going to skyrocket. You’re going to become someone who’s so much less reliant on receiving external feedback and external validation. And really become someone who is able to provide that to themselves.

You’re gonna feel a hell of a lot more confident, more capable, more accomplished, more successful, more proud. How you advocate for yourself when you’re feeling that way, when you have a really high self-concept… Not an arrogant self-concept, just a confident, compelling self-concept, where you’re really sold on you. Where you’re sold on yourself, the value that you bring to the table, that is when you will be able to advocate for yourself in a really compelling way.

Now, once your self-concept is upgraded and your confidence is boosted, because you’ve changed the way that you talk to yourself, you changed the way that you think about yourself, and the story that you tell about all that you’ve done, then you’re in a really great place to start self-advocating.

From there, you want to make a self-advocacy game plan. All that is, is that you need to think about the information that you need to convey, and how you need to convey it, in order to advocate for yourself effectively. So, what do you want the people, who are in charge of your review, to know about you? What do you want to make sure they’re aware of? What is it that you’re asking for? What would you like to see happen?

You want to be really clear on the result that you’re aiming for. If you’re clear on the result that you’re aiming for, you’re going to make a more compelling argument that you deserve it. So, you really want to spend some time going through, asking, and answering yourself, some really commanding, powerful questions like:

Why am I a value-add? Why do I deserve X? Whatever it is; a promotion to make partner, more money, a bigger bonus. Make a compelling argument from that place of really grounded confidence.

Sell yourself on why you’re deserving of it. And then, when you’re in that place when you’re sold on you deserving it, sell yourself. Advocate. Go to town, all right. Now, speaking up for yourself is not going to feel super comfortable, at first. And, that is not a problem.

You can take action and speak up for yourself, in spite of and despite the discomfort of doing so. I always like my clients to identify the negative emotions that they anticipate that they’ll feel when they advocate for themselves. And, just build it into your plan. Decide; I’m going to feel those feelings on purpose. Whether it’s embarrassed, or arrogant, or rude, or impolite.

Whatever the case may be, whatever negative emotions come up. Maybe exposed or judged, because you think someone else is going to disagree with the way that you’re advocating about yourself; the things that you’re saying, the things that you’re highlighting.

So, there’s going to be some discomfort, and that’s totally fine. This isn’t going to feel intuitive or comfortable, at first. But that’s not a sufficient reason not to self-advocate. The truth is, and you hear me say this all the time, but there’s discomfort both ways; in speaking up for yourself, and not speaking up for yourself.

Only one of those two ways gets you closer to your goals. So, I highly recommend that you pick the path that gets you closer to the results that you want, over the one that doesn’t. If there’s discomfort both ways, don’t pick the path that maintains the status quo, pick the one that doesn’t; that gets you to the end result that you’re aiming for.

Now, once you’ve built your self-concept, and you have advocated for yourself; whether it’s in writing, or via a meeting with your supervisors, then you’re going to have the chance to probably receive some feedback. I’ve recorded a whole episode on receiving feedback. But what you want to do is really manage your emotional state as you receive feedback, and come to it in a really curious way.

Not with offense, and not with frustration, and not with anger, and not feeling attacked; we don’t want to do that. That doesn’t create intentional, positive results. So, instead, try and maintain a sense of curiosity as you receive feedback. And, be willing to ground yourself in that moment. Have a conversation with your supervisor to flesh out what’s gone wrong, to problem solve, how will you guys course-correct in the new year, moving forward, next quarter, over the next six months, over the next 12 months.

People tend to make review conversations a ‘me vs. them’ ordeal, and it doesn’t have to be that way. So, I want to encourage you to approach these conversations as if you’re on the same team, because you are. Be prepared to not love everything that you hear. It doesn’t make you a bad attorney. It doesn’t make you a bad employee. It doesn’t make you inadequate in any way, for you to receive some feedback that isn’t positive.

This is so cheesy, but they call it the practice of law for a reason; there’s no perfect way to do this. And, you’re always going to be improving. So, of course, people with more experience than you are going to give you some ways that you can improve. That isn’t a problem. You don’t need to take offense to it; you get to just receive it and use it as a learning opportunity. Leverage the feedback that you get, okay.

Again, like I said, whole episode on “Accepting feedback”. Go listen to that so you can really manage your mind as you do it. Now, I feel like I didn’t mention this, so let me just rewind for two seconds. If there’s not a formal meeting, we talked about that formal process in the beginning, like to write a memo and submit it. But also, if there’s not a formal meeting, I highly encourage you to request one. Create the structure.

That may feel really awkward and uncomfortable for you, but I find that a lot of leaders, a lot of business owners, law firm owners, law firm managers, they don’t think this stuff through. So, if you have the expectation that they’re going to be really intentional, it’s not that they don’t care, they just might not have put thought into this yet.

You can be the person that thinks up things for them. Request a meeting so you can have this conversation. So, you can come in with that strong self-concept; be your own hype person. Communicate your accomplishments, make your requests for what you think you deserve, what you think you’ve earned, value that you think you’ve added, and how you should be compensated for it.

And then, be willing to have that conversation and engage with that person. What do they think? Ask questions. Answer their questions, and receive the feedback that they give you. This can be a collaborative discussion.

Now, if there’s room for you to make improvements, rather than getting the feedback and being like, “Yeah, okay, that sounds great. Thanks so much,” or storming off and being pissed, or crying in your office, which, no judgment on the crying, but I know that happens to a lot of people during this time of year. They get negative feedback, and then they don’t really do anything with it other than dwell and self-loathe. So, let’s skip that part. Let’s not do that.

Instead, leverage the feedback that you receive. Take it, accept it, really pick it apart, and formulate a game plan for how you will improve upon the items that were mentioned in the feedback that you got. Okay, how are you going to work towards making those improvements? You want to come up with a really clear plan of what you’re going to do differently moving forward, in order to get there.

If you don’t, and you just end up winging it, you’re not going to make the changes that you want to make, and you’re not going to see improvements. So, this is all just going to come up again at your next review. That’s not what you want. So, come up with a game plan.

You can even meet with your supervisor to check back in, you don’t have to wait another 12 months for this. You can do it more frequently, in order to measure progress. And last but not least, if you don’t get feedback as often as you like, I highly encourage you to not just depend on your annual review, ask people and take the time to meet with them.

Don’t worry about being a burden, they get to say no if they want to. Trust people to manage their own time, and you get to manage yours. But ask people for more consistent feedback, create those channels, so you’re able to receive it.

Now, if I made this sound a little bit more simple than you think that it is, I just want to offer you that I get it; self-advocacy isn’t as straightforward and as comfortable as a lot of people make it seem. There are a lot of skills that go into self-advocating effectively.

So, skills like: You need to know how to change your thoughts and manage your mind. You need to know how to embrace advocacy opportunities. You need to know how to rewrite your self-concept, and increase your confidence, and advocate effectively. Which means, taking action in spite of and despite your discomfort.

Those skills, a lot of us never learned. There’s no formal education, through law school or through our early careers, where we learn how to do those things. Now, that’s what I teach my clients to do; how to change their thoughts, how to manage their minds, how to embrace advocacy opportunities, increase their confidence, rewrite their self-concept, and advocate really effectively, in spite of and despite the discomfort.

So, if you haven’t considered working with a coach or working with someone else, some other professional, consultant, strategist, that’s able to help you with these things, I highly recommend, if you struggle with this, consider working with someone. Because these are essential skills that you’re not going to just stumble upon if you keep going it alone.

Now, if you are a supervisor and it is annual review season, here’s what I want you to do; you’re in a little bit of a different position, right? So, kind of touching on where we left off with receiving reviews, if you give reviews, don’t wait until the end of the year to give negative feedback.

That is one of the things that I hear from my clients most frequently. This causes immense frustration. So, avoid this altogether, and just gag-and-go your way through the uncomfortable conversation much sooner after it happens. Even if someone’s still working on a matter with you, be willing to have that conversation now instead of waiting till later.

It reduces resentment, and frustration, and hurt feelings, and surprise. And you’re really able to make much more meaningful change when the timeline between the incident and the review receipt is so much shorter. So, I encourage you, don’t wait until once every 12 months to give negative feedback, do it consistently throughout the year.

And also, don’t just give negative feedback. That’s another thing that I hear from people all the time. That lawyers are just famous for only talking about what’s not working, what’s not good enough, and not highlighting people’s accomplishments. So, I like a three-to-one rule for this: three positive pieces of feedback for every one negative piece of feedback.

If you are someone who gives feedback and that ratio seems really skewed to you, I want to encourage you to try it try; the three-to-one feedback technique. Now, just like people who are on the receiving end of reviews, people that give reviews, supervisors, also tend to have really negative thoughts about the annual review process.

So, if that’s you, if you think it’s a joke, if you think it won’t make an impact, if you think people won’t make improvements because they don’t take it seriously, you’re going to show up and really half-ass the feedback that you give. How you navigate this process, you’re not going to take it seriously. And you’re not going to utilize it as the meaningful opportunity that it is. So, if you think it’s a joke and it won’t make an impact, you’re right; it won’t.

Just like the people receiving reviews, you need to change your thoughts about this process, too. Why does it matter? What kind of impact can it have? Why is it important? Why is it essential? What good can come out of it? How is it valuable?

Answer all those questions. Really sell yourself on the import of this process. All right, I also want to encourage you to think of it as part of your job. I watch a lot of people differentiate between “real” work and administrative work, the non-billable stuff. Reviews are one of the things, just like billing your time, to get categorized into this not real work box. And if you think of it that way, you’re not going to take this seriously. You’re not going to give it the gravity that it deserves.

So, I want to encourage you to think about this as being part of your job; you’re a supervisor, this is one of your responsibilities. Now, from there, if you stop thinking of it as a joke, or that it won’t make an impact and that it’s not part of your job, if you change those thoughts, you’re probably going to slow yourself down to take it more seriously.

But I do want to remind you, if you still feel rushed to speed through this process, because you’re like, “Who has time for this? It’s end of the year; I’ve got to get on to my deals. I’ve got to close cases,” whatever. I just want you to take a deep breath and not rush this process.

If you rush through it, it won’t be meaningful. And it won’t be as impactful as it could be, otherwise. So, if you really want to see course-correction out of your teammates, and improvements out of the people that you supervise, out of the people you manage, you want to take this seriously, and you don’t want to speed through it.

Now, when you go to give feedback, and I’ve recorded a whole episode on this, too; one on accepting feedback, one on giving feedback. But you want to make sure that you’re out of a state of frustration. And you want to be in a state of curiosity, understanding, and showing up in service to the people that you supervise. That’s going to completely change the way you communicate your review; you communicate the feedback.

I also want to encourage you to be honest. A lot of people have a very hard time with being honest when it comes to annual reviews, because they don’t want to be “mean” or they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I just want to offer that that’s really not helpful.

The point of an annual review process is for people to learn what they’re not doing well and to make adjustments. And also, to celebrate them for what they are doing well and the value that they’re adding. But the purpose of an annual review is both, it’s twofold. So, be honest, and highlight what people need to work on.

Now, when I teach business development, I teach people a concept; I say, “Don’t post and ghost.” I tell them to post on social media, but then stick around and engage with other people on social media. So, I’m tweaking that concept today, for you. I want to say here, don’t give feedback, and then ghost. Stick around. Help people problem-solve.

The people that work for you may not know how to solve the problems that you’re bringing to their attention. And they’re definitely going to be inclined to people please you; to say, “Oh, yeah, I know. I need to work on that, totally. I’m going to do better.” If you are phoning in this process, you’re going to take their ‘yeah, I’ll do better’ and run with it, it’s not really a meaningful action plan, in order to get different results; in order to make consistent improvements.

So, instead of doing that, I really want you to take a deep breath and problem-solve with the people that you review. Help them identify a clear path forward, for exactly how they’re going to improve, to remedy the things that they’re not doing well; the issues that you brought to their attention.

And you want to make sure that you come up with measurable metrics, where you’ll both be able to see their improvements, and monitor the progress that they’re making. Is this time consuming? Yes, it’s going to take some time. It’s not going to take all the time. But it’s going to take more time than if you don’t do it.

But it’s worth doing it. It’s how you make your review process every year actually meaningful. It’s how you’re going to get improvements out of your team, rather than that lip service, which is what you don’t want. Okay? So, ultimately, whether you’re giving reviews or you’re accepting them, you’ve got to change your thoughts about your annual review process.

You’ve got to be willing to take action, in spite of and despite your discomfort, right? Whether you’re advocating for yourself or you’re giving feedback to someone else, it’s going to be a little uncomfortable, especially at first; that’s not a reason not to do it.

Alright, my friends, I hope this helps you navigate your annual review process; everyone’s. We’re gonna change our thoughts about everyone’s favorite time of year, I’m sure. It’s bonus season. It’s the part that comes right before bonus season. So, how could it not be your favorite time of year?

All right. I hope these tips helped. Have fun self-advocating or giving reviews to your team. I will talk to you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to The Less Stressed Lawyer podcast. If you want more info about Olivia Vizachero or the show’s notes and resources from today’s episode, visit www.TheLessStressedLawyer.com

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