Plan to Improve Your Future Performance

By Rosemary Smyth, MBA, ACC, Author on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

When we reflect about our job performance last year, we usually ask ourselves, did we reach our goals and what did we learn from last year’s experiences.  We can also ask specific people for feedback and comments on how they felt about our job performance and any areas that we need to pay more attention to. When we ask for feedback, we’re looking for concrete feedback that deals clearly with particular incidents and our behaviour.

Many firms have a structured annual performance review that looks at the goals that were set and verifies that they were achieved. If your firm does not require an annual performance review, at least jot down a few notes about what went well this year and what could have worked better. If you want to do more reflection you could ask:

  • What is the one goal that you are most proud of achieving?

  • How do you feel you have developed/changed over the past year?

  • What strengths and skills did you use every day?

  • What was the main catalyst for reaching your achievements?

Be sure to write down the answers to your questions and date it, so that when you look back you know when you did this task and can compare notes. Add a reminder in your calendar for a year out and set up a recurring reminder to do this reflection annually.

To shift the focus to identifying areas that you want to improve on in the future, start by asking what is the performance area that if improved would make the biggest difference in your business.  The answer to this question will drive your development plan and bring awareness to what it is that will make you successful.  If you’d like to create a detailed plan to improve your future performance, consider the following questions:

  • What additional skills would you find useful to focus on?

  • What exactly are your goals for next year?

  • What specific tools do you need to achieve your goals?

  • What knowledge or certifications would improve your client experience?

  • What areas of professional development (coaching/ seminars/ courses) would support you the most?

  • How will you measure improvement in skills?

  • What could hold you back from taking bold steps?

  • What can you do to get yourself unstuck?

  • What is the next step in your personal development?

  • Who will be holding you accountable for your goal time frames?

 From the answers to these questions, build an action plan to improve your performance.
1. Start with the area that you chose as your focus.
2. Select your SMART goal. It is a clearly worded goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
3. Choose the knowledge that needs to be developed to achieve the goal and how you will gain this knowledge.
4. Choose the skills that need to be developed to achieve the goals and how you will gains these skills.
5. Set out the action steps that you plan to take with time lines for completion.
6. Choose an accountability partner to share your plan with and set times for follow up.
Once you have this action plan complete, see if it fits with your long-term professional development plan and tweak what you need so that you are moving closer to reaching those long-term development goals.

Rosemary Smyth, MBA, CIM, FCSI, ACC, is an author, columnist and an international business coach for financial advisors. She spent her career working at leading investment firms before pursuing her passion for coaching. She lives in Victoria, BC. Visit her website at You can email Rosemary at: and follow her on Twitter @rosemarysmyth


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