Too often managers modestly, and often unjustly or even unwittingly, hide their successes from others – and indeed from themselves. They fail to understand that the simple strategy of recording personal successes can motivate, increase self-productivity, and support career advancement. The compilation of a personal achievement list can have a considerable effect on a manager’s professional life…

1. Acknowledge your achievements to date.

Most managers see themselves as ‘modest achievers’. They’re so accustomed to doing what they do and what is expected of them that they rarely, if ever, class any of their accomplishments as ‘achievements’. Indeed, when people are impressed with something they’ve done – something that perhaps seems rather ordinary to them – they’re surprised.

As a manager, you can use your past achievements more positively to motivate you to greater heights. To shrug off those achievements modestly, as most professionals are prone to do, or to forget about them, will just make adding further successes to your repertoire harder. Acknowledge your achievements. With a little planning and persistence, you’ll be able to build on them and motivate yourself to strive towards greater successes.

2. Appreciate how achievement-motivated you really are.

If you are achievement-motivated, you’ll be able to answer these questions positively…

  • Do you want to accomplish something significant?
  • Do you like to set your own goals?
  • Do you like doing your own thing, rather than being told what to do?
  • Are you self-motivated?
  • Do you prefer to select moderate, practical, achievable goals for yourself?
  • Do you like immediate feedback on how you are progressing towards your goals?
  • Do you want full responsibility for attaining your goals?

If you are very low in, or completely bereft of, achievement motivation, you may find your work and your life empty of vitality and vigour.

3. Start a Personal Achievement List.

You’ll be surprised how much you achieve as a manager in a year. Systematically listing your achieve-ments is the only way to keep track. So keep a list of your successes in chronological order, month by month, over a year – initiatives, milestones, articles, talks, interviews, books read, awards, and similar things signifying that you’ve accomplished something.

4. Use your Personal Achievement List.

The benefits of keeping and reviewing your list soon become obvious, e.g:

  • for gauging progress. Seeing your achievements all in one place, in chronological order, helps you determine whether you’re making the kind of professional and personal progress you have in mind for yourself. Do the successes support your goals? Or do they simply consume time and energy?
  • for getting the attention of others. You can promote yourself well at interviews and meetings only when you know yourself well.
  • for supporting your documentation. The process of putting together your résumé is streamlined when you have already listed your successes.
  • for motivating yourself. Use the stimulation of success to accomplish even more.

5. Begin a Projected Personal Achievement List.

Once you have mastered the process of putting your achievements in writing, it makes sense to project achievements into the future to guide your progress. The achievements that go into this list are the ones you can realistically accomplish, again month by month, in support of your overall goals.

6. Be realistic when compiling your list.

In determining your future achievements, be realistic. Don’t just list everything you think you’d like to accomplish. Instead, stick to those items that you feel you have a reasonable chance of accomplishing. But don’t ‘hedge your bets’ by developing a very short list that includes only safe items and few of the achievements you would really have to strive to complete. The list should act as an incentive to spur you on and keep you on track.

7. Make your list a ‘living’ document.

An advocate of personal achievement lists, American management authority Jeffrey Davidson, says in ‘Blow Your Own Horn’:

“Ensure that your projected list is a ‘living’ document: it will require continual revision as achievements occur. It is important to revise your goals and the steps you will take to achieve them, rather than just include what you know for sure will happen. In this way, you will be in charge of a logical pattern of accomplishments; and it will be more likely that they will bear a concrete relationship to your own goals.”

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