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How can we make SMART goals work?

smart-goals

Q - Our team leader has introduced ‘SMART Goals’, but they really aren’t working out. Is there anything we can do to make them work better?

A - I aways encourage people to set goals, so I was surprised to hear this.  It turns out that the smart goals were imposed (almost system generated!) rather than being discussed and agreed with each employee.  This is rarely going to work, as people need to own their objectives (S - specific), which means being a party to them.  The other thing I clarified was how 'smart' were the goals, and this was quite variable.  People need clarity about their roles and what is expected of them, so each element of SMART is important.  The remaining problem was that no one tracked progress against their objectives regularly (M - measureable), enabling them to be refined throughout the year.  Goals need to be ‘kept alive’, so that they can adapt to the changes in organisations.