S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym we can use to ensure that the targets we set are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-orientated. Read on to find out what we mean.
Specific – Don’t make your targets wishy-washy exercises designed to keep your boss happy and to tick the appropriate box. We need specific goals to work towards. If you are looking for an increase in sales, specify by how much and when.
Measurable – By making a target measurable we (brilliantly if the author may say) enable ourselves to know whether the targets have been hit. There is also the concept of “you manage what you measure” which has many applications in a company environment. Not measuring something in business is the company’s way of sticking its head in the sand. If we don’t measure shrinkage we will never be forced to do anything about it!
Attainable – Here’s the killer. Attainable seems to be the single biggest let down of any target that is considered SMART. “Why of course out worst performing store can double sales in a week” says the SMART target obsessed boss. Get real we cry!
Relevant – Asking your human resources department to increase the up-selling of video games with games consoles is probably a little on the silly side. The targets need to have a relevance to the group chosen to hit them or the whole thing is a waste of time.
Time-Orientated – Don’t just state by how much. State by when! “I use my imagination to dream. I use my imagination and calendar to set a goal” or so the saying goes.
If you’re actually going to attempt to create a S.M.A.R.T. target then do yourself a favour and sit down with a pen and paper and write out the S.M.A.R.T. acronym along the left hand side. Next to each letter write exactly how your target matches that criterion and be honest about it. You may find that some of the SMART criterion doesn’t seem to apply to your target at all. Well, adjust your target and make it apply!
Be very careful about setting targets that can’t be measured or are difficult to measure. You may have to show some creativity here as a way of ensuring the target ticks that particular box. Also try to keep them attainable. Attainable isn’t just about what can be achieved with best practice. You have to consider the people involved and whether at that stage in their development they are ready to achieve what you want.
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Attainable, Management Styles, Measurable, Relevant, Specific, Time-Orientated