The “Next Steps” Email Holds Yourself and Others Accountable

Every six months Google employees get reviewed by their peers and managers.  I recently had a conversation with my manager about what I need to do to be promoted in the next cycle. We talked about scaling my initiatives (aka work projects) more globally as well as working on more deals throughout their full cycles (all the way from finding a deal to closing it).  As I think about the “things I need to do this week” writing my manager a “next steps” email sits high on that list.

The “next steps” email does a few things for both you and the other person you interact with.  It both limits the amount of mis-information possible as well as helps hold both parties accountable for what they said they would do. 

I will write my boss an email that says something like:

Hi [Manager Name],

Thank you for taking the time to give me feedback on my review last week.  I wanted to write down what I heard from you regarding the next steps I need to take in order to put myself in a strong place to ask for a promotion in 6 months. 

First, I heard that I need to work on [initiative here] in a more global manner, scaling it out to AMER [America] and showing how it can [insert  metric I assess my progress on] for not just the East, but the entire region. 

Secondly, I learned that I need to demonstrate and better showcase to you and the other leads my ability to work on deals from start to finish.  I am currently working on X, Y and Z deal that could fulfill this objective. 

I look forward to working on these goals with you over the next six months to put myself in a good place to get promoted.  Anything else I missed from our conversation? What else do you think I might need beyond that to make an easy case for you to put me up to the promo committee? 



As you can see, in this email I outline what I heard my boss say, ask for his buy-in that these items constitute my main action items to get promoted (mainly so that he or the committee find it harder to throw in something last minute and say I should have known I needed to do it) and open myself up to asking if I missed anything. Finally, I add an open ended “what question” to let him provide anything else that might simply be his personal opinion versus the committee’s so that we can get it out in the open (and debate if the request is reasonable ahead of crunch time).

This “next steps” or “wrap up” email works not only for your personal development but also for clients and peers.  In any situation where you think a misunderstanding with high stakes could occur, I encourage this technique.



The “Next Steps” Email Holds Yourself and Others Accountable

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