No matter where you are in your career, you should never stop developing yourself. One of the best ways to do that is to work directly with your manager - the person who works the most closely with you on a day to day basis.

Lately I've seen a new trend--a lot of companies are moving away from traditional annual performance reviews in favor of more frequent evaluation meetings with a manager. Two companies in particular that I've worked with, Adobe and Microsoft, have adopted this approach, which went viral late last year.

Whether or not your company has decided to implement manager meetings, this is a practice that you could cultivate, at least once per quarter, to talk about the growth of your career.


For your next meeting with your manager, use these five steps to ensure that you get the most out of your time:

Share your goals. Tell your manager what you're working on, and inspiring to work on, essentially to give them a deeper sense of what you're working on and where you want to go- share the results that you're seeing so far, and update them on what your ultimate goal is.

Is your goal to get promoted in the next 6 months? To become partner? Sharing this information with your manager will give them a clear sense of what you want your path to be so that they can help you get there.


Describe your achievements so far. Once you've communicated your ultimate goal to your manager, describe to them where you are relative to that goal. This will help them to engage with you and take initiative to help you.


Ask for input and advice. The point of the meeting isn't to show off, it's to move forward, and to do so faster than you would on your own. Come into the meeting prepared with several questions that would direct your manager to give you advice and take on a mentorship role.


Discuss other matters related to your career development. Once you and your manager have a shared understanding of your focus and direction, then take the opportunity to enrich the discussion in other ways. This is a good time to ask for your strengths and weaknesses- ask if there are things you haven't demonstrated yet that they're looking for, what you need to learn to do well, or what you need to be doing more of. You might also ask about other opportunities to get involved, contribute to the organization, and expand your responsibilities.


Identify and commit to next steps. After the meeting is over, go back through your notes on the conversation and formulate your next steps. Also make sure to record your notes in a way that you can use them as a tool to inform your next meeting, to follow up on the items you discussed.


Planning these steps for manager meetings are what high achievers do to move forward in their career. As the saying goes, if you want to be in the top 5%, you have to do something different than the other 95%.