How to set SMART Objectives
Writing objectives can be a challenging process. It requires vision and commitment to future achievements that are not only essential for personal growth but that also impact the success of the organization for which you work. It’s like embarking upon a to-do-list that you’ve pledged to others you will complete – certainly not a process to be taken lightly.
The process of writing your objectives not only provides an opportunity to reflect on how you can personally impact the company’s success, but also offers the chance to determine what you want to achieve, how you will achieve it and how your success will be measured.
As well as a means of tracking progress and getting things done, objectives can also be used as a tool to reflect on what you might still need to work on. When it comes to sitting down with your manager to talk about our progress, your carefully thought-through, SMART objectives will be invaluable.
Formula for SMART objectives
The difference between an objective and a goal is that whereas a goal can just state what you want to achieve, an objective states how you will achieve it. It usually answers what needs to get done by when and to what standard.
- Set the target of your objective: if you could do one thing to push yourself to improve your performance as an individual what would that one thing be?
- Describe the main activity of activities: what do you need to do to push yourself? What specific activities or actions?
- Measurement: what does it look like to prove you have improved your performance? How does it contribute to your personal growth?
E.g. To improve my fitness by following 12 work out plans for each month in the year 2011.
To (action word) the (the target of the objective) by (description of the main activity or activities) as measured by (measurement) by the end of (target date).
Use the following as your guide for “testing” your objectives. If they pass this filter, you are off to a great start and your chance of success increases.
- Specific: spell out in concrete terms what you intend to achieve. Use language that “describes” what you are doing. Be clear and precise
- Measurable: to document any progress or level of success, the objective must have some measurement attached. It should support tracking progress and be a reliable source of information. If you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t have it as an objective
- Achievable: set a target that is ambitious, yet attainable in the time allowed. It should be a “stretch” objective, requiring you to move from your “comfort” zone
- Results focused: there should be a definable, value-added end product or outcome. If the result attached to the objective doesn’t contribute to improving the current state, your objective should be reconsidered
- Time bound: you must set your deadlines for achievement. This allows for ease of priority setting, defining your benchmarks and marks your end date. If you find the objective to be ongoing, it may not be an objective, but a vision
Have you set your objectives yet? If you have any questions about your objectives please don’t hesitate to contact us.