This is the season when many companies begin to prioritize strategies for the coming year. Those strategic plans usually involve setting goals for departments as well as individuals. But how much time do you really spend defining clear, measurable goals? Most leaders agree with the importance of setting goals, but many don’t take the time to work with their people to clearly develop goals and write them down. As a result, people tend to get caught in what I call an “activity trap” where they are busy working on projects—but not necessarily the most important projects.
We’ve all heard the term SMART goals. Let’s take a closer look at each of the elements in the SMART acronym, which we define as:
S = specific
M = motivating
A = attainable
R = relevant
T = trackable
Here’s the twist: I’m going to ask you to think of this familiar acronym in a new way—as STRAM. Why STRAM? Because the most effective way to write a goal statement is to start with the Specific and Trackable elements first.
- The leader should describe the Specific goal and when or how often it needs to be accomplished.
- Now the leader needs to make sure the goal is Trackable. How will progress or performance be tracked or measured?
To give you an example, take a look at these two similar goal statements.
- Produce monthly financial reports.
- Submit accurate and timely financial reports on a bimonthly basis for the next 12 months as measured by end user feedback.
Which of these is the SMART goal? The second one. Why? The first is a goal statement, but it isn’t specific or trackable. The second goal statement provides precise outcomes for accurate and timely financials on a bimonthly basis. And the results will be measured by end user reports. So the second goal is specific and trackable.
Once the S and T are in place, the leader and team member can review the other three elements—Relevant, Attainable and Motivating—to check if the goal is truly SMART.
- The leader has the responsibility for making the goal Relevant by ensuring the goal is important and that accomplishing the goal will make a difference to the organization.
- The leader and team member work together to make sure the goal is Attainable. It must be realistic and achievable. When a goal is too difficult to accomplish, people may give up—but when it is too easy, people tend to procrastinate.
- Ultimately, each team member determines for themselves if the goal is Motivating by considering if it is exciting and meaningful. Will it drain energy from their work experience or add enjoyment? Will the goal help build competence, relationships, or autonomy?
If you take some time up front to write SMART goals, your team will be able to focus on the most important projects that will support not only organizational goals but also each team member’s personal needs. This will create an energized and motivating work environment that supports both great results and human satisfaction—a winning combination for success.
One thought on “A New Twist on SMART Goals”
Reblogged this on johncbuckley and commented:
Set yourself up for uber success in 2015 by crafting & employing your goals! “Goals are dreams with deadlines”-Diana Sharf Hunt, Author & Motivational Speaker
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