SMART GoalsIn goal setting there is one method that has stood the test of time.
The main definition of SMART is an acronym for the five components of an effective goal. An effective goal should be:
When a goal is specific, then you have clearly identified what it is that you expect to be accomplished. In case the object is not well defined, it is difficult to expect to achieve goals effectively. Hence, a specific goal will answer the following questions
- Who? Who is taking action or is affected?
- What? What is the result I want to achieve?
- Where? is there a specific location
- When? When do I want to complete this goal?
- Which? Are there restraints or requirements that have to be met
- Why? Why is this important? What specifically is the benefit of achieving this goal?
For example, let’s say that you want your employee to improve in customer relations. That not specific enough. If you answer the question above, however, it becomes much more specific:
- Who – customers whose accounts I am assigned to (currently 1000)
- What – I want to be the person that my customers think of first when they need to talk to someone about consignment delivery. I will know this is happening when I receive at least 20% more inbound calls each month
- Where- in the five cities where I currently have customers
- When – within three months
- Which- starting with customers that I haven’t heard from in more than a year
- Why – to increase sales, to reduce customer complaint
Each goal that you set for employees should be measurable so that you have a means of ascertaining how far along the employee is in reaching the goal as well as when the goal will be complete. If the manager have to measure entire project , as in above example of reaching 1000 customers, then the manager can also determine how much of an employee’s daily work load should be dedicated to achieving the goal. This will help to break the goals down to measure day to day performance management. So for our example above, 750 customers need to be emailed and then called in enough time that measure 20% increase in amount of inbound calls within three months.
This means that the employee should complete outgoing contacts as soon as possible in order to allow time for the customers to respond. Hence, with the above example, to find measure for any goal, ask the question:
- a) How much?
- b) How often?
- c) How many?
To attain goals, it is necessary to measure them time to time. But before that, the manager need to be certain that the goal is truly attainable. What if in the example above the manager had said that he want to see a 20% increase in inbound calls in just three months? How would the employee plan for reaching the goal have changed? It would be quite difficult for an employee to match the expectation along with his existing workload which will lead to poor or low performance. Hence, if the goal is not attainable given the contents, you either need to work towards removing those restraints or lowering the level of the goal so that it becomes attainable.
If a goal is to be realistic, it must be something that the manager and his team should be willing and able to work towards. This doesn’t mean that all goes have to be low and simple but it should be done through analysis of the task at hand. It should be well thought, discussed and realistic in nature. Before reaching to final conclusion, some question should be asked and analyzed which includes,
a) Do I have enough resources to reach to goal?
b)Do I have required support from other departments and an organization?
c)What expertise does my team lacking that I need to look upon? Does any training required?
d)Have I reviewed my existing workload with my superior to prioritize my new goals with existing goals?
The final component of the SMART goals strategy is timely. Without adding time restriction to goals, all the above exercise is waste. Adding a realistic time boundary lends a sense of urgency to your goals and will help to keep you focused. Since organizations change regularly, so can goals. Making sure that the goals is set with a time limit also ensuring to complete the goals within time frame.