The photo shows the Red Arrows flying in a fantastic display. They didn’t learn to fly together like this without working towards a series of goals. In a previous article we discussed setting goals for your team. I used the acronym SMART and said your goals should be SMART, but I didn’t explain what SMART goals are. This article explains what SMART stands for and how you can use it to create a goal that is more likely to be achieved.
What Is SMART?
There are several versions of the SMART acronym. They all ultimately say the same thing; a goal should be SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT and TIME-BOUND.
SPECIFIC means the goal should very clearly state the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and/or How. Ask questions beginning with these words to check whether the goal is specific. “I will write a business book” is not specific. “I will write a book that covers recruitment, induction and goals and performance management. It will be about 500 pages long. It will be aimed at small business owners who are new to managing a team.” is specific.
MEASUREABLE means whoever the goal is assigned to will be able to clearly tell when they have achieved the goal. What will you see, hear or feel when you have achieved the goal? In the above example, the measureable part is “I will write a book that covers recruitment, induction and goals and performance management. It will be about 500 pages long”. You know the topics the book will cover and you know how long the book will be. That is measureable. You need to find something that will tell you and your employee when they have achieved success.
ACHIEVABLE means whoever the goal is assigned to has control over being able to achieve the goal. It also means that the goal should be realistic. The goal can, and should be a stretch, but it should not be impossible. For the above goal we could add, “I will write one chapter per week, and each chapter will be about 50 pages long”. By breaking the task down we can see it’s not an impossible task. Let’s assume 50 pages a week is reasonable. If they have other tasks to do it’s also likely to be a stretch as they’ll have to fit this in around the other things. The additional part is also measurable as you can check the person is on track with their writing each week.
RELEVANT means the person the goal is assigned to needs to see the benefit in achieving this goal. If it’s not relevant they will not be motivated to take action to achieve it. Ask yourself what the objective behind the goal is. Will this goal actually help this person reach that objective? Is the objective directly relevant to them? For our example we could add “This will help me become established as an expert in my field”. This gives the reason why, an objective that has meaning to the individual.
TIME-BOUND means there must be an end point by which you can say whether you’ve achieved the goal. You may include time points along the way to chart progress, but ultimately you need an end point. For our example we could add “It will be ready to send to an editor 10 weeks from now on 3 April”. We now have an end point for the goal as a whole (3 April). We could also set interim time markers of the end of each month to check progress (one chapter per week).
A SMART Goal
So a SMART goal for writing a business book might be:
“I will write a book that covers recruitment, induction and goals and performance management. It will be about 500 pages long. It will be aimed at small business owners who are new to managing a team. I will write one chapter per week, and each chapter will be about 50 pages long. It will be ready to send to an editor 10 weeks from now on 3 April. Writing this book will help me become established as an expert in my field.”
Take a goal that will benefit your business. Work with the people who will need to deliver it to make it a SMART goal that they are invested in. This will produce the best outcome for both the individual and the business.
My Question To You
Have you set goals for your employees? If you have, are they SMART goals? If this is something you would like to discuss or would like some help with, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author:
Dr Nikki Faulkner founded Mulberry Bush Consulting to work with business leaders and their teams to make the 'People' side of their business as effective as possible. Mulberry Bush Consulting's specialty is helping small businesses who are new to having employees and helping businesses who are growing rapidly and increasing their employee-base at a rate that is creating a significant challenge.
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