7 Reasons Why I Take My Work Performance Seriously

Estimated reading time: 6 mins

A colleague asked me yesterday why I put so much importance and value on performance management and my performance review. How did I answer?

I gave my ‘elevator pitch’ to her and answered the question, but it did spur me to review my reasons, because I felt the pitch wasn’t complete. I get much more out of my focus on performance now, since I wordsmithed my pitch in my head. My pitch was:

My performance is important to me because it’s how I deliver the best value to our organization and recieve rewards. When I acheive my performance targets, I know that I am contributing to the success of our organization in alignment to the organization’s corporate objectives.

So I reviewed my reasons and share them below:

1. I Achieve My Full Cash Bonus

I’ve put the financial reason first, because that’s what most people want to hear! By achieving my desired performance levels and delivering my objectives (well, I strive to totally ACE them) I meet the criteria set by my organization to receive my full financial incentives.

In most organizations, there is a performance-related financial incentive: often annual bonus (or Short Term Incentive Plan, or STIP), but frequently on salary, too. Other longer-term incentives (often called a Medium Term Incentive Plan, or MTIP) are contingent on sustained achievement of personal performance targets.

2. Demonstrable Track-Record of Achievements

When I persistently achieve my performance targets, I am building up a track record of high achievement which is referrable during performance appraisals and application for promotions. It’s also a valuable asset when seeking a good reference.

It’s not just what is on paper or my record on the HR system – in most organizations, the results of performance appraisals and our track-records are reviewed by our manager with their peer group (often to ensure fairness is applied across the organization), so it works as an excellent profile-builder in senior management tiers.

In addition, possessing a documented history of your achievements (recorded with their targets/success criteria and how they were measured) can be fed into your resume. Resumes work best when they talk about quantifiable achievements, rather than responsibilities or tasks.

3. Corporate Responsibility

When we’re set objectives and goals, it’s generally because the organization as a whole requires them to meet it’s objectives (generally set by stakeholders). If we fail, the organization will fail unless remedial action is taken – normally by spending money, or diverting resources, or taking extra risk.

Therefore we have a huge responsibility (no matter what level we are at in the organization) to achieve our objectives and performance targets.

As IT people, we are at the helm of a massive investment. We’re here to make computers do lots of valuable work. So if those computers are not operated, configured or designed properly, the organization will fail to meet it’s objectives. And fail big time. So whether you’re involved in the design, build, configuration, operation or management of IT equipment your actions and decisions (or lack of them) can have a massive effect on your organization. This is why our performance is important.

4. My Relationship With My Boss

I do my job to make my boss successful. In turn, my boss’s job is to make his boss successful. And so on. So when I achieve my objectives, I am helping my boss achieve his. This is good for our working relationship – it fosters trust and respect between us.

Goal-alignment also encourages a stronger relationship between us – when our goals are aligned we’re both working to the same objective, which creates co-dependence and the need to work closer together. I make a specific point of ensuring that the objectives of my boss are reflected in my own, and make corrections if they’re not.

Want to know what happens when goals aren’t aligned? 5 Reasons Why Your Boss Hates You.

5. I Am A Role-Model In My Organization

This isn’t a statement from a big-head (is it?) but all organizations need role-models and heros to show how it should be done. You will find role-models right the way through your organization if you look for them, and they’re not always in the obvious places.

It’s important for our colleagues to not just understand the theory of their work, but also see how an expert does it. By focusing on my performance I give others an example of how the work should be done, allowing them to emulate me if they choose to. Of course, I have my own ‘style’ – not everyone agrees with the way I do things – but that’s OK, they don’t have to see me as a role-model.

Anyone can be a Role-Model. It’s not an exclusive right of senior management and leaders. There is a responsibility that comes with the role; a role-model has influence over those people who follow him or her. It’s this aspect of being a role-model that I enjoy the most – it keeps me honest, and sharp. If my actions and behaviors don’t just have an effect on my own performance, but also that of others, I am forced to be more deliberate, less irrational and very much more considerate than if I was a sole-operator.

6. I Become An Expert At Goal-Setting and Goal-Achievement

I don’t underestimate the value of being a seasoned expert at goal-setting and goal-achievement. It’s a meta-skill I’ve developed through constant practise. By itself it means nothing – it won’t pay the bills – but when I apply these skills to my objectives I am much more likely to ACE them.

When I am set new objectives and performance targets, I go about breaking them up into short-term goals (weekly), measuring results, and learning from them. It’s a pattern I evolve and iterate over. You can do the same, it doesn’t take special knowledge or skills to start – just begin and continue and your skill will develop over time.

7. Motivation And Confidence

A direct result of reason #6 is increased motivation and confidence. Achievement feels good, and in turn it gives me extra motivation and confidence to achieve the next goals and targets. Success breeds success! It becomes an ever-increasing circle of growth.

Don’t believe me? Well set yourself a small goal (no matter how small), and achieve it – just go for it. How do you feel afterwards? It feels good right? Now set yourself a slightly more challenging goal, and achieve that. How do you feel now? I expect you feel even better, and motivated. This is the effect I am talking about. Now scale this up towards your annual objectives… it’s no different in its application.

So What Is My Elevator Pitch Now?

The essence of an elevator pitch is that is can be given in 30 seconds or less, so how do I boil down these reasons to just a few words? I’ve given it my best shot…. see what you think!

My performance is important to me because it increases my influence, it enables me to achieve my career and financial goals, it improves my relationship with my boss and my team, it also increases my competence in achieving new objectives, and in turn it enhances my confidence and motivation to do it all again.

Bit wordy? Fluffy? Or spot on? What is your response to this elevator pitch?

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3 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why I Take My Work Performance Seriously”

  1. Simon,

    Here’s two I’d like to add to the list. I’ll start, like you, with the one people want to here:

    #8 – It helps you not get fired. In line with your #2 and #4, having a track record of overperforming, doing the right thing, and being a role model could be the intangible that helps you keep your job in tough times. Heck, it could be the tangible difference too. Thing is, even though HR won’t admit it, there are all kinds of thoughts processes managers go through to decide who to let go and who to keep. As many checkmarks as you can put in the “Pro” column, certainly increase your odds of staying around (and maybe even moving into a new, exciting role as other underperformers exit).

    #9 – IT’S SIMPLY THE RIGHT THING TO DO! I’m assuming I don’t have to convince any of your readers on this one – hopefully it’s self-evident. I’m not suggesting everyone has to go over and above and work 60 hour weeks as obviously that is not for everyone. But for the hours you are in work, why not do your best while you’re there? You’ll feel so much better, you’ll make others feel better, and you’ll make the company a better, stronger organization.


    1. simonstapleton

      @Dave thanks for your comment. Those two additions are brilliant! This ain’t the first time you’ve contributed when afterwards I’ve thought “Now why didn’t I think of that?” 🙂

  2. @Dave – I like those two. The first one (#8) is an obvious addition, but you articulate why perfectly. The second one (#9) I am not sure everyone understands this, but its perhaps the most important of all. We should all do our best because this is why we’re put on this earth for a short period. Why settle for less?

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