Download (direct link):
1. Specific: SMART goals are clear and unambiguous; when goals are specific, employees know exactly what’s expected, when, and how much. As an extra benefit, when goals are specific, it’s easy to measure employee progress toward their completion.
2. Measurable: SMART goals can be measured. When goals can’t be measured, it’s impossible to tell whether employees are making progress toward their successful completion. Not only that, but employees may be unable to sustain their motivation to complete goals when there are no milestones to indicate their progress.
3. Attainable: SMART goals are both realistic and attainable by the majority of employees, although it’s also good to design goals so that employees have to stretch some to achieve them. Goals set too high or too low become meaningless, and employees will eventually ignore them.
The Management Bible
4. Relevant: SMART goals relate to the organizations vision and mission, and they move the organization forward in some way. According to Pareto’s 80/20 rule, managers should focus their effort on designing goals that address the 20 percent of workers’ activities that have the greatest impact on performance while bringing the organization closer to its vision.
5. Time-bound: SMART goals have definite schedules with start dates, end dates, and fixed durations. When employees commit to deadlines, it helps them focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before its due date. When goals aren’t assigned deadlines or schedules for completion, they tend to be overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization and eventually are forgotten.
The SMART system of goal setting outlined above provides you with guidelines to help frame effective goals, but there are other factors to keep in mind. These factors ensure that the goals that you and your employees agree to can be easily understood and acted on by anyone in your organization:
• Ensure that goals are related to your employees’ role in the organization. It’s far easier for employees to pursue an organization’s goals when those goals are made a regular part of their jobs. Goals should be assigned to employees as a part of their duties, not as something to do in their spare time, and they should directly relate to the employee’s job in some way.
• Whenever possible, use values to guide behavior. Values such as honesty, fairness, respect, and more are important to maintaining an organization’s integrity. An organization’s leaders should model this behavior while rewarding employees who live it.
• Simple goals are better goals. Employees are much more likely to work to achieve goals when they are easy to understand. Goals should be concise, compelling, and easy to read and understand,
EXECUTION: GETTING THE JOB DONE
and no longer than a sentence. Goals that take more space than a sentence should be broken into smaller goals.
FEWER GOALS ARE BETTER GOALS
When you go to the trouble of setting goals, keep them to a manageable number that can realistically be followed up on. Having too many goals often means that nothing gets done. When it comes to goal setting, less is more.
Consider these guidelines for selecting the right goals for your organization:
• Pick two to three goals to focus on. People cannot realistically focus on more than a few goals at a time. Assigning employees too many goals often means that many of the goals will be ignored, resulting in haphazard results.
• Pick the goals with the greatest relevance. You’ve only got so many hours in your workday, so it makes a lot of sense to concentrate your efforts on a few goals that have the biggest payoff rather than on a boatload of goals with relatively less payoff. Constantly ask yourself, “What one or two things could have the greatest impact on our success?”
• Focus on the goals that tie most closely to your organization’s mission. When interesting goals that are challenging, interesting, and fun to accomplish are too far removed from your organization’s mission, then you’re not really doing the work that the organization needs to be done. As interesting as they may be, you’ve got to keep your focus on the goals that are most important to the organization’s long-term success.
• Periodically revisit the goals and update them as necessary. Markets and business environments change all the time, and so do goals. Just because a goal is relevant today, that doesn’t mean that it will be
The Management Bible
Ask Bob and Peter: Setting goals with my employees is always difficult for me. Do you have any advice on how to best set goals?
As you know, it's one thing to set goals, and it's another thing altogether to achieve them. The best way to ensure that your goals (and your employees' goals) are achieved is to make them SMART goals: Specific—goals must be clear and concise if you expect your employees to achieve them; Measurable—if you can't measure progress toward achieving a goal, you'll never know whether you or your employees have attained them; Attainable—while it's always good to stretch a little to achieve a goal, it should never be unattainable or unrealistic; Relevant—employee goals should directly relate to attaining department or organizational goals; Time-bound—every goal should have a defined period of time for completion. Keep these points in mind when you set goals, and you'll be on the road to success.