To begin, thank you for taking time to read this blog article. My first true thank you is because you are dedicating time to acknowledge you are in the driver seat to propel yourself forward. Even though I am constantly speaking about career growth, a personal portfolio and quarterly review about where you stand is about so much more than just career development. It is a dedicated time to reflect on accomplishments, but also areas where you can continue to grow and accelerate. Being self-aware and verbalizing these strengths, but also areas of opportunities, is the truest assessment of yourself.
My second deep thank you is for consuming my content. I truly put my mind and heart into this material in hopes of helping as many as I can, but through an individualized message. It takes time and conscious behaviors to recognize one’s own potential.
Each industry has different metrics of how ‘success’ is measured, so apply these thoughts specifically to your role. I am going to use sales throughout for the sake of example. In a sales job, it may be a bit more objective to assess progress than others. Documents such as ranking reports, field coaching logs, market share, percent growth and more, are the norm. While these types of documents will help portray an honest picture, you still have to hold yourself accountable on another level. Did you set any personal goals at the beginning of the quarter or year? Outside of numerical achievements, did you jump on any leadership projects you mentioned to close out 2017? Or maybe there is one big client you were looking to have a breakthrough performance with, did it happen?
The point I am trying to make here is everyone has different metrics they want and need to achieve for development. It is important to sit down and analyze true and honest progress. If you inflate forward momentum, you are only hindering yourself. Outside of the two minutes to write down how you’ve mastered XYZ, zero evolution arises from this behavior. Do yourself a favor and just be honest.
Beyond the Numbers
A personal assessment does not end at the numbers. Along with any black and white quantitative growth, other development metrics should also be evaluated. I mentioned a couple examples already, but one that resonates with many is leadership opportunity. Leadership has many different faces, titles and responsibilities and if it interests you, management looks for you to take proactive steps to display that drive.
So, what does this mean? (Disclaimer: It will look different depending on job function and company structure.) First and foremost, it means holding yourself accountable to go above and beyond to represent these specific behaviors. Documenting each and every activity or encounter in your portfolio is the easiest way to track progress. Management will want to see full circle accountability on your part. It may be efforts at a meeting, intranet online courses relating to the subject matter or simply asking what opportunities are available, because you would like to push yourself forward. Regardless of the avenue to get there, document it all. When you go into your next meeting to ask for a leadership opportunity, compensation increase, or title change, your portfolio will be ready to present why you bring value. At the end of the day, it is always about how much value you or an idea can bring.
Surface level, putting together a personal portfolio may sound like extra work you need to fit into your already overflowing schedule. If you think this, you are correct. There is no icing on the cake, but what you need to keep in mind is the long-term strategy. The effort of systematically gathering intel about yourself will pay off tenfold for committing to the short-term time investment. Organization is a skill that can be perfected with attention and repetition.
The logistics of your portfolio should not be complicated. The main point is to create a structure that works for you. I started simple with a binder and clear sleeves to print out documents and certificates for safe keeping. Everything is kept in chronological order and ready to present when needed. A couple other methods I have installed over the years is a bound business plan with achievements scanned in or it could be as simple as dedicated a folder in Word to your personal portfolio. Drag and drop everything in and access later. Again, it does not matter how you organize, it just matters that you do.
Be different! Rise above and make the effort to be the employee who shines out from the rest. Give leadership and C-level colleagues something to remember you by. The kicker is all this energy also develops you personally. Professional growth is the real deal and often dictates career path, but personal growth cannot be forgotten. Embracing how this level of commitment to yourself impacts your future is a success in itself and another step towards self-awareness. Leave feedback below on different ideas you have to keep the best and most efficient portfolio!
Rebecca Wagner - I actively find flow through unparalleled focus on propelling the careers of others. These posts will help to share my thought processes about development, self-awareness and growth.