Superheroes and quarterly reviews

“I wish I had ‘Tom’ with me on this project.” Do you recall having this type of thought at work? I do.

Every single one of us has a “Tom.” You know, the go-to person when sh*t hits the fan, and you need a hero to save the day.

But chances of meeting even one “Tom” are slim. Why? Because people are different. And our definition of “Tom” varies based on our personality, set of values, and the type of work we’re doing.

Over the last five years, I’ve managed to gather a solid group of superheroes around myself. People I wish I could work with again as I change companies. The only people I am more than happy to recommend for another job as top-tier employees.

But only recently, I asked myself one question: “Am I a superhero to somebody as well?”

Do I have people who can recommend me for another gig? People who appreciated my personality, sense of humor, and professional attitude so much that they would be willing to say: “Albert’s an awesome Project Manager! You’d be happy to have him on board.”

And this is where Quarterly Reviews come into play.

Even though they never were standard practice at companies I worked for, my mentor and a good friend told me I should “just do it.” And so I did.

I created a simple Google Form with three questions:

  1. Rate your experience working with me on a scale from 1 (garbage) to 10 (awesome).
  2. What do you like about working with me?
  3. What don’t you like about working with me?

After almost two years of testing it, I can say that it does its job well. However, it still doesn’t answer my question of whether I can be someone’s superhero or not.

This quarter I changed the approach. Instead of asking my colleagues to rate me from 1–10 (which, in all honesty, tells me nothing), I rephrased the question:

“If we both joined another company in the future, would you like to have me on your team?”

Because if you say that you give me a score of 9 or 4, I have no idea what you mean by that. And without asking follow-up questions, I won’t understand your point of view.

It’s still not perfect. It still doesn’t fully answer my question of whether I am somebody’s superhero or not. But it gets me closer to figuring it out.