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Performance Review Time


For many of us, it is that time of the year when we get to reflect on our accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, core values, beliefs, attributes, goals, objectives, development areas, hopes, dreams and do it all in bite size chunks made the size of a Tweet. It’s performance review time.

I just completed mine and while I joke about it, I understand the importance of a system that allows for a systematic evaluation of one’s progress at work and establishment toward goals in the New Year. It’s interesting for me – navigating two worlds. From a corporate perspective, while you may be lucky enough to get feedback on a regular basis, that annual review really still does hold the weight of a critique in the New York Times  – “what did they really think of my performance? This could really impact how many more times I get a go.”…that sort of a thing.

As a comic or other performer, (and in my case, I do use the term loosely), you get a review every single time you showcase your efforts – whether you like it or not. It got me wondering about how this could work in a more traditional work environment. How could an accountant, lawyer, project manager, marketer, sales person, etc. get a real-time evaluation every time he or she performed a task? Would this even be valuable? (It’s a given it would be incredibly annoying.)

As a comic, a lot of times, this is how you actually work things out. It’s the real time feedback of the audience that gives you a feel for what to work on, what to keep, what to trash and what to try out next time. What if every time i made a presentation at work, the attendees in the conference room either clapped, looked at their iPhones (which they do ALL the time) or threw a tomato at me? I’d get the picture pretty quick.

Neither case is ideal. Like anything else in life, the quality of what you get is largely due to the people you choose to receive from and the openness – the true openness – with which you are willing to receive feedback.

I am fine with the former – I have a fantastic network of people at work and in comedy that I trust to tell me the truth, whether I like to hear it or not. The latter is more difficult. The truth is, as much as I want the real deal – and I do – it is not easy to hear the things that you have to improve on, particularly when they seem so inherently a part of your personality. After all, if you want to be authentic, you don’t want to change who you are. But, sometimes, you have to tone it down (or up) to help you achieve what you set out to achieve.

So during this performance review time of year, I remember that I have had good and I have had bad. I have had good comedy shows and I have had bad comedy shows. And truthfully, in the long run – none of it really matters. What matters is whether each year, each month, each show was different than the last and there was some sort of progress. Two steps ahead and one back is still a net positive.

Until next time,


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