Performance management includes having the ability to create goals with the characteristics summarized by the acronym SMART.
S = Specific. Everyone needs to know exactly what the specific results of a goal should be. What does that look like specifically? A vague goal can leave one in doubt about what to do and what the payoffs would be. Inspire people with clear goals.
M = Measurable. People need to be able to measure or at least observe the desired results. How will you know when the goal has been accomplished? Everyone should be able to agree on observable outcomes.
A = Actionable. The goal of getting more customers is not really actionable. You cannot directly make a customer buy your services. You need to create a sub goal of having an effective advertising campaign, which is actionable. Its measurable results could be the upward change in the company’s percent of market share and an increase in the number of customers.
R = Realistic. Is the goal realistic in light of its costs and the barriers to accomplishing it? When anticipating costs, include non-tangibles too such as energy and time required. Is it realistic to spend the necessary money, time and energy to accomplish this goal? Will the necessary people support it?
Sometimes we con ourselves and others with false enthusiasm for the goal. Then when the cost is felt and barriers arise, we lose heart and abandon the goal. It is better to anticipate carefully the costs and barriers ahead of time and be sure the effort is worth it.
T = Time bounded. By when will this goal be accomplished? Deadlines communicate the level of urgency for the goal. Vague deadlines lead to procrastination. Clear deadlines can motivate. Also, to keep motivation up, it helps to have checkpoints along the way for progress. We should have half of this project done by when? We should be three-fourths done by when?
You can improve your ability to create SMART goals through our individual and Group Executive Coaching – performance management is an entire Module of our Virtual Workshop Series, Leadership Communication® : How to Communicate with Emotional Intelligence for Powerful Leadership (http://www.EmotionallyIntelligentLeadership.com ),
and Self-Study Program (http://www.EagleAlliance.com/services/gec/ssinfo ).
Copyright © 2009, by William R. Murray, President of Eagle Alliance Executive Coaching, LLC. Reprint rights granted to all venues so long as this article and by-line are printed intact with all links made live.