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Why SMART Goals Work

Posted by | January 9, 2015 | Advice, Career

Via LinkedIn : Every member in an organization deserves the right to be developed, and developing individuals starts with designing and accomplishing goals. Goal Setting is an essential process for organizational development, and increasing the organizations competitive advantage. Setting goals makes employees happy, decreases turnover ratio, and strengthens the leadership within the organization. Goals should be an agreement between leaders, and the individuals that they are trying to develop. This agreement is an outline that determines how an individual and a leader will take advantage, as well as create opportunities for the accomplishment of desired goals.

Many organizations have templates, along with goal setting objectives and rewards systems. However, using SMART goals are arguably the easiest form of goal setting that leaders can adopt.

SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based. Let’s cover these with a succinct analysis.

Specific– (Who, What, Where, When, Why, & How) who is involved in accomplishing the goal, what is the goal, where is the goal taking place, why is this goal important, and how does it benefit both the individual and the organization? Specificity is the key to this process.

Measurable– How will the goal be measured, what are the metrics needed to assess the goal? Quantifiable specifications are necessary; if it is sales then how many sales, if it is profits, then how much? It is important to develop milestones, benchmarks and metrics in this category, which can be monitored by the individual and the leader. How much, how many, how often, etc…

Achievable/Attainable– The most important aspect of this section is to ask if the individual believes in the labor and hard work that will be required to achieve the goal. This underscores the individual’s capacity, and intrinsic motivation to accomplish the tasks related to the goal. Remember, that this is their goal, and they have to own it. More importantly, the individual has to love the goal, and desire to achieve the goal that is outlined. This means that a leader will set conditions, and sometimes outline difficult tasks that are linked to the goal. The individual in this section accepts that they will be pushed in attaining the goal.

Realistic– Is the goal within reach, is the goal challenging, will it add to the competitive advantage of the individual, and the organization? These are important questions to think about, and answer when outlining goals. Overall, the individual has to believe that the results of the goal will make the individual and the organization better. A realistic goal is a goal that an individual and a leader believe in, and one that accomplishes an objective while enhancing the development of an individual.

Time Based– Are dates set to outline the progress of the goal? The goal has to have an end date, and essential benchmarks are needed to measure and track deadlines that are linked to the goal. The individual and leader should assess objectives monthly, or quarterly depending upon the established time base. For example, a yearlong goal can be set up with quarterly objectives that are monitored and assessed by the leader and individual.

SMART Goals work, because this goal setting outline creates an agreement between the individual and the leader. It is important to remember that the goal is the individuals, but it is also an agreement made by the leader. The experience and influence that a leader has will play a central role in helping the individual accomplish their desired goals. SMART goals create an agreement between the leader and individual, that defines conditions, and creates opportunities for both parties to assess, and accomplish the goal. It is up to the leader to recognize and establish these conditions and situations that enable the creation of objectives that are linked to desired goals.

Goal Setting should be a thoughtful process, and should also be linked to intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Organizations that outline creative goal setting structures will increase their competitive advantage and retain, as well as recruit the best employees.

Ricky A. Derring II

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