David Anderson has an intriguing post, Lawyers, Unit Tests and Performance Reviews. David says “Individual team members can be set specific goals and behavior objectives…” and gives examples. I prefer that team members set their own goals with input from their managers. But the key here is that a technical person should be looking to increase his or her value to the group all the time, with some way to measure that at performance reviews.
Managers who perform continuous career development with their staff (which means every week in a one-on-one, not just in a yearly performance review) gain benefits for their group and the company. Their group increases its capacity, which in turns helps the company.
If you're a technical person, consider improving one of the four areas of technical skills (See this post for one idea about how to think about it. And any improvement you make in your non-technical skills such as verbal and written communications, influence, negotiation, or facilitation skills will certainly improve your value. If you're a manager, review your management skills and think about how you can improve them.
How have you provided more value than you did a year ago?