SMART Goal Setting
Written by: Novita, S.Kom, MBA
To set a goal it takes an involvement of manager and employees to develop an action plan that is designed to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal. Goal setting can be created by using criteria (or rules) such as SMART criteria. Goal setting is a major component of personal development and management literature.
Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals Developing sound goals is critical to managing your own and your employee’s performance. Each year you will ask your employees to set goals for the upcoming year/evaluation period. When you ask your employees to write their goals, teach them to create S.M.A.R.T. goals that support your own goals for the same period. A S.M.A.R.T. goal defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time bound. Below is a definition of each of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria.
Goals should be simplistically written and clearly define what you are going to do. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”
Goals should be measurable so that you have tangible evidence that you have accomplished the goal, to establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. Usually, the entire goal statement is a measure for the project, but there are usually several short-term or smaller measurements built into the goal. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as:
How much? How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Goals should be achievable; they should stretch you slightly so you feel challenged, but defined well enough so that you can achieve them. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You must possess the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to achieve the goal. You can meet most any goal when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. As you carry out the steps, you can achieve goals that may have seemed impossible when you started. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them. On the other hand, if a goal is impossible to achieve, you may not even try to accomplish it. Achievable goals motivate employees. Impossible goals de-motivate them.
Goals should measure outcomes, not activities. To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were realistic and challenging.
Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
Goals should be linked to a timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency, or results in tension between the current reality and the vision of the goal. Without such tension, the goal is unlikely to produce a relevant outcome.
For example: If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable
The concept of writing S.M.A.R.T. goals is very important for accomplishing individual goals, which in turn are linked to department, division, and company goals. It is also critical for ensuring good communication between employees and supervisors.
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