Do You Have Mid-Cycle Review Blues?

February 12, 2015 3:21 PM
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Do you dread your mid-cycle review?

Most government organizations have an annual performance review. And many organizations also have a mid-cycle “touch base” review that allows you to see how you’re progressing. Last year, you came up with three “Developmental Areas” to work on in the coming year.

As you’re receiving your mid cycle review, you’re probably taking a look at how far you’ve come on your objectives and what you would like to shift, change, adjust, and put more attention on in the second half of your annual performance year.

So this a good time to go back and take a look at “What were those three development areas that you were going to put your attention on this year?”

Because the mid-cycle review tends to focus on specific work objectives, part of the conversation should be around those specific work objectives or milestones you were intending to reach in your job. Examples of specific work objectives or milestones might have been “complete X number reports” or “achieve this much in process improvement”.

And broader discussions around developmental areas usually come up in the mid-cycle review as well. If developmental areas don’t come up in the conversation, you should bring them up because this is a great time to take a look at these three areas and ask yourself:

  • What am I learning?
  • What am I experiencing?
  • Are these still the same three developmental areas I want to put my attention on for the second half of the performance year?

Just to give you a refresher, here are three ways to reframe your Developmental Areas and turn the mid-cycle review or Career Development Conversation into something that brings out the best in both the employee and supervisor!

Choose one “knowledge, skill, ability, or experience” for each of the below categories:

Category 1. The Experimental Area

What is something that you have never done before but sounds interesting, even fun, to you? This is the Experimental area. Consider the child who was meant to grow up and be a Wimbledon champion: if he never picks up a tennis racket, he will never know he could have been a tennis star. The same is true for you. Experiment!

If you try it and you don’t like it, no big deal! Don’t do it again. It was just an experiment, after all. But if you try it and it does work out, you’ve discovered a hidden talent. Now you are an employee who is having fun and expanding your skill set. And your supervisor gets credit for supporting an employee in gaining new skills.

What hidden talents do you have in your back pocket?

Category 2. The Fine-Tuning Area 

Next, what knowledge, skill or ability would you like to hone? Maybe it’s an area that was previously on the Experimental list and hasn’t quite been mastered yet. AND it’s interesting and fun to you. You would like to get better at it. (Note: Key words here are INTERESTING and FUN. If it doesn’t meet those two criteria, throw it out.)

Examine which aspects of the new knowledge, skill or ability fire you up, and look for additional aspects that you didn’t previously realize were necessary or related. This gives you a chance to get really good at last year’s successful experiment.

Category 3. The Expansion Area

This is the big one! This is the area where you really get to take a look at yourself and ask, “What am I best at? What do I know I’m good at, that I love doing?” This belongs on the re-defined Developmental Areas list because it’s the Gift that you choose to take to the next level.

Who doesn’t want an office full of superstars that are focusing on getting even better at the things they’re already very good at? Wouldn’t you rather work in an office that functioned like that?

Here’s the best part about using this framework for Developmental Areas. When you focus your attention on the things that bring you closer to your natural Gifts, those aspects of yourself that do not serve you naturally fall away on their own. You organically attract the assignments, and even the promotions, that are ideal for you.

© 2020 Martha (Austin) Wilson. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Martha (Austin) Wilson.

About the Author

Martha Wilson is a retired CIA Operations Officer, leadership instructor, transformational coach and the founder of Greatness In Government, a leadership and personal development firm that specializes in re-energizing mid-career government employees. Organizations that are struggling with complaints about bad leaders, discrimination, bullying and other symptoms of employee dissatisfaction hire her when they are ready for a fresh approach to leadership training. She also provides private coaching to high-potential government employees who have decided to assume responsibility for their own personal and professional development.