Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Set “SMART” Goals Smartly?

  First, measure the right things; then measure them right.

S.M.A.R.T  (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goals play an important role in modern management discipline, what’s the pros and cons of setting & measuring S.M.A.R.T goals, and how to manage it effectively?

The bigger issue is that a good strategy adds no value unless it is effectively executed. The strategy stems from longer term goals and results in annual objectives aligned to the strategy. Annual objectives start with the executives choosing a few key initiatives, understanding their interdependency, and driving them down the line. The SMART framework is helpful, but be cautious of setting goals which are really valid. First, measure the right things; then measure them right.

In order to set smart goals, all the people involved in implementing them need to be involved. How do you expect people to implement the SMART goals they do not know or they have not participated in formulating or setting? Setting and implementing SMART goals is a hands-on affair, it is not a textbook theory! If some are lacking skills and knowledge, then that calls for coaching, mentoring and training. People are still the key factors in measuring S.M.A.R.T goal in a smart way.

S.M.A.R.T goals are more as a guide based on meeting the five criteria-specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. S.M.A.R.T goals work better as a post evaluation tool. Goals are the key to driving accountability, but what makes them effective is how they are implemented. The foundation is the management process. Coming up with 1-3 major aims/goals that everyone understands and agrees upon is key. Once you accomplish that step, it is useful to say "okay, our goal/goals are_______, now how can we make that more specific, how can we measure results, are these results attainable etc." having a goal that has purpose should always have first priority, followed by refining that said goal with methods like S.M.A.R.T goals.

Setting and achieving the S.M.A.R.T goals is the critical steps in strategy execution, but do not think it as management mechanism only, ensure having a goal that has the business purpose first, then measure it in a smart way. 

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