How to self evaluate and improve

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So you are looking for ways to measure your own performance? Are you feeling the stagnation? Do you know how well you are performing? Well this short article might help you to evaluate your own performance.

First of all, do you know how others are performing?
If you have direct results to compare, like completed tasks, or numbers like average sales you should use these numbers as a starting point. Let’s say that you work at a call centre like I do, the average answered calls per day might be 50. If you are handling 45 calls per day, you are 5 short of being average; this means that the majority of your competition is doing a better job than you. If average is 50, less than 45 is not good enough, and more than 55 is very good. I like to use 10 % of average to set good vs. bad performance. So less than 45 is bad, more than 55 is good, and everything in between is ok. If you do not know the average performance indicators at your company, go ask your manager.

How to get above average!
So what do you do if you find yourself below average? The first thing you need to do is to start working systematically toward a goal. Try to write down, what you think is the reasons for your below average performance. As soon as you identify the reasons start eliminating one by one. Do you tend to spend too much time on breaks? Do you have a closing techniques is you are selling stuff? Are you trying to solve problems, other people should solve? There is so many ways to improve. At the call centre that I work at, there are these factors to be considered: Time logged in, average talk time, average wrap-up time (time between one call is ending, till you are ready for the next), time on breaks.

In this example from one day in the call centre world let us take a look at these numbers.You answered 43 calls on average 490 seconds with an average wrap-up time on 58 seconds. You took a long lunch lasting for 2520 second (42 minutes.) and you took a lot of breaks to a total of 45 minutes. Yes it is obvious that you could save a lot of time on shorter breaks and a shorter lunch. But I am going to start with some other numbers. If you reduce your wrap-up time by 8 seconds, and reduce your talk time with 20 seconds on average, you have made room to two more calls, putting yourself within the 10 % average margin. But that is not enough to be top notch. And if you get your act together and reduce the amount of time on breaks with 10 minutes, and kept your lunch to 37 minutes, you are now on 47 calls, being above average. This might be step one to getting better results.
Your next goal should be, reducing your talk time with even more down to 420 seconds or seven minutes, and reduce your wrap-up time down to 30 seconds, and you suddenly have 54 calls. You have improved from 43 calls to 54 calls making you above average. To get there, study and learn from the best. Try to get a coach to sit down with you and listen to you calls. Find out where you can save seconds.

You can also use this exercise in any other job, write down where your seconds go the amount of tasks, and if you deal with value calculate value as well. If you are in retail selling goods there is more to think about. Selling the most expensive, might not necessary be enough if it takes too long. And you must also learn about profits. Selling a TV for $2000 with a 10 % profit might be harder then selling a $1000 TV with 20 % profit, both will bring in the same amount of money. Basic mathematics is nice to know.

Progress/Time graph.
I like to draw a graph at the white board; the horizontal axe is time and the vertical axe is progress. The task is to draw a line creating your own progress during your stay at your company. If it is pointing upwards, you might still enjoy your job, and all is well. But after a while most people draw a line looking like the graph below.
If your graph looks just like this it indicates that you are starting to feel stagnation. This again means that you need to find new things to learn. You might have the hang of things, and you might even feel like you can handle all the daily challenges. I can guarantee that you can still learn more. At this point it is up to you to come forward with your need for further education. You might try to find a book relevant to your job or field of expertise or ask you manager for further guiding.

Combine and evolve.
Now you know how to find and deal with performance, and you know how to find your skill progress. You even know what to do to improve. The rest is up to you. Keeping a track record will help you on your way. I once worked side by side with a friend selling consumer electronics. He had full control of his revenue. He knew how much he had sold at any point of the day. He knew his personal records and I could easily tell when he was close to it. He kept track of his performance every single day. He is the best salesperson I have ever known.

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