This is key: your business results show your good work to your manager…or potential manager.
So my question to you is “How do you document your business results?”
That part in your performance review that talks through your goals and goal attainment? Yeah, that’s business results. Unless you can provide specific examples of how you reached your business goals through real numbers (the “Measurable” in SMART goals), it is your opinion versus your manager’s opinion. Guess who’s opinion wins?
The other document that needs business results is your resume or CV. Having real, measured business results on your resume significantly increases the chance of getting the interview. You can ask no more of the resume than being persuasive enough to have a recruiter or HR person call you up for a job interview. Win.
There are many places to store your your results — in a task management system, a Word document, a text file, on your goals and objectives sheets, or built into your resume. Where is not as important as how you document your business results. The “how” makes a difference when it comes time to update that review or resume.
Verbs are action words: delivered, increased, decreased, optimized, and eliminated are examples of words that show action and something concrete.
Almost all other words outside of verbs just don’t come across as impressive for the business result. “Attended the monthly Operations meeting” is weak compared to “Delivered the Alpha recommendation at the monthly Operations meeting.”
I get a lot of pushback on this one. But the truth of the matter is if you can’t measure your result through a number, you didn’t have a goal that could be measured. The goal itself should have a number of some sort in it so that you can show your goal attainment. Otherwise, we should all have goals about watching ourselves self-actualize.
You know, when you took on that goal, your manager and you sat down and said the goal was X. And your first question was…”How am I supposed to meet that goal?” The answer was a story. It was a verbalization of how you’d reach that goal through the actions you could take to achieve that goal.
Maybe the goal was to increase sales by 5%. How could you get to that goal? Add more accounts. Sell more into existing accounts. Sell a new product to new and existing accounts. And on and on. But the key is that your manager and you come up with how you both think you can achieve the goal. And that’s the story.
The story is important because a business result is bare. “Decreasing costs by 5%” begs the question of how you did it. On the resume and performance review, you need those couple of sentences that is the story of that business result.
You then weave these three components to come up with the business result. Then you put that business result where you store them, pulling them out when you need to do your review or update your resume.
Doing the work up front will save you endless searching for results later. If you can find them. If you can remember them. Most people don’t know how to document their business results. Cubicle Warriors do.
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Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.