Performance tools have become invaluable in today’s world. Goal setting is something that troubles most people. When you don’t know what you are working towards, then it’s difficult to find the best way to get there.
Goal setting is a major driver of success. When employees are aware of their objectives then they can organise themselves and use the available resources towards achieving them. A popular goal-setting process is the use of SMART objectives.
The system incorporates different elements of objective setting to ensure that individuals have better chances of achieving what they purposed to do. Learning more about this performance management tool should help you get the most from it.
SMART objectives or SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
These five elements define a goal-setting criterion that makes it easy to craft reachable goals. The system is commonly attributed to the Management by Objectives concept by Peter Drucker.
However, George T. Doran was the first to use the term in 1981. In an issue of Management Review, Doran said that SMART can mean different things.
SMART provides a better, smarter approach to goal setting. Through SMART objectives, employees can develop and execute an actionable strategy to help the entire organisation accomplish its bottom line.
If you are to understand how SMART works, it helps to have a few examples. For that, you should be clear about the different aspects of this performance management tool.
Specific objectives are significant and concise. The language should be specific because ambiguity leaves rooms for various interpretations and, consequently mistakes. For instance, telling a factory manager to improve production is a general objective. However, requiring a 5% production increase by the first quarter is specific.
Measurable goals allow you to monitor their progress. Therefore, it should be quantitative.
Achievable, attainable or agreed means that you have the capacity to accomplish the established goals. So, the objectives should not be too big, but don’t stay in your comfort zone either.
Realistic means that a company should set goals that are relevant and resource-based. Analyse the available resources and the commitment to reach a particular objective.
Timely goals should have a start and finish point. A timeline ensures that everyone involved has the same sense of urgency.
Why should a business use the SMART process to set its objectives?
For one, it provides clarity. From the get-go, workers know what they should focus their attention on. It means that you eliminate the risk of professionals spending time on the wrong tasks.
When people know where to direct their efforts, it reduces wastage. Poor goal setting leads to misuse of time, skills and resources. SMART goals provide direction, and that makes it easy to allocate resources in the right places.
A company can further its objectives through the SMART framework. As employees work towards specific goals, they contribute to the company’s improvement.
Enterprises can track their objectives to see what is working and what isn’t. Success does not follow a linear path and even the most well-thought-out goals don’t generate the desired results. With measurable objectives, you can tell if it’s necessary to reevaluate the entire plan.
Companies should encourage their workers to create SMART goals. Executives can supervise this process to ensure that the objectives align with the company’s bottom line. When writing SMART goals, employees should know their limitations and leave room for flexibility. An enterprise can also get performance management software to simplify the goal-setting process.
SMART goals help organisations understand their vision. They give direction and help aim resources where they are most vital. When done right SMART goals allow employees to get out of their own way and work towards the company’s well-being.
Businesses must also learn the different kinds of CSFs to make an informed decision about the most suitable one.
Industry factors comprise aspects that are specific to a particular sector. They are efforts that an enterprise must fulfil to remain competitive in a given industry.
Strategic factors refer to elements that are based on an organisation’s competitive strategy such as the marketing plan used for branding.
Environmental factors result from the influences of a specific setting on your company. They include the competition, business climate and technological advancements, among others.
Temporal factors usually have a short lifespan and are based on the internal changes in an enterprise. The factors are determined by the company’s direction, influences and challenges.