Getting SMART at Work

Is your team using SMART as a basic goal-setting tool? As we deliver training to clients across the country, we find that many first-time supervisors and early-career managers learn a lot from this acronym. Many have not seen it before, but it is a classic tool that doesn’t get old.

In case you haven’t seen it before, or if it’s been a while, here is a simple way to be more effective in your goal setting:

Specific: When setting a goal, be very specific about what you are to achieve. Use a number or some other clear descriptor of what you will achieve.

Measurable: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Aggressive: Stretch yourself. If your goal is to do what you have always done, why bother?

Realistic: Aggressive is great, but if it is too ambitious and you know that you can’t possibly reach it, you will not be committed to achieving it. I might want to lose 20 pounds, but it’s not realistic to think that I can do it by this weekend.

Time-Bound: A goal without a deadline is a wish.

Here is an example of what we are talking about.

SCENARIO: A sales person who normally makes 15 to 20 calls a day without a lot of strain needs to pick up the pace.

BAD GOAL 1: I am going to make some sales calls. (Not specific)

BAD GOAL 2: I will make 50 calls before lunch today. (Too aggressive)

SMART GOAL: I am going to make 25 sales calls before 5 PM today.

The 25-call goal is a stretch that is a little better than current performance, but it is realistic. Everything else works to make it SMART, too.

SMART goals can be used for task and time management, performance coaching, self-assessments and in nearly any other area of professional life where goal-setting comes into play.

The next time you need to set a goal, get SMART.

Learning Dynamics has offered powerful employee training and development programs for over 31 years. Discover how we can help your employees use this and other tools to achieve peak performance at work.

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