Goal setting is something most of us recognize as necessary for our success. The establishment of all objectives should be created using the S.M.A.R.T. philosophy. What is meant by S.M.A.R.T. objective? S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that is used to guide the development of measurable goals. Each objective should be:
It answers the questions “What is to be done?” “How will you know it is done?” and describes the results (end product) of the work to be done. The description is written in such a way that anyone reading the objective will most likely interpret it the same way. To ensure that an objective is specific is to make sure that the way it is described is observable. Observable means that somebody can see or hear (physically observe) someone doing something.
It answers the question “How will you know it meets expectations?” and defines the objective using assessable terms (quantity, quality, frequency, costs, deadlines, etc.). It refers to the extent to which something can be evaluated against some standard. An objective with a quantity measurements uses terms of amount, percentages, etc. A frequency measurement could be daily, weekly, 1 in 3. An objective with a quality measurement would describe a requirement in terms of accuracy, format, within company’s guidelines.
It answers the questions “Can the person do it?” “Can the measurable objective be achieved by the person?” “Does he/she have the experience, knowledge or capability of fulfilling the expectation?” It also answers the question “Can it be done giving the time frame, opportunity and resources?” These items should be included in the SMART objective because they will be a factor in the achievement.
It answers the questions, “Should it be done?”, “Why?” and “What will be the impact?” Is the objective aligned with the S/C/D’s implementation plan and the company’s strategic plan?
It answers the question, “When will it be done?” It refers to the fact that an objective has end points and check points built into it. Sometimes a task may only have an end point or due date. Sometimes that end point or due date is the actual end of the task, or sometimes the end point of one task is the start point of another. Sometimes a task has several milestones or check points to help you or others assess how well something is going before it is finished so that corrections or modifications can be made as needed to make sure the end result meets expectations. Other times, an employee’s style is such that the due dates or milestones are there to create a sense of urgency that helps them to get something finished
EXAMPLES OF SMART OBJECTIVES:
1. Profitability objective
To achieve 20% return on capital employed by august 2019.
2. Market share objective
To gain 25% of the market for sports shoes by June 2016.
3. Promotional objective
To increase trail of Ariel washing powder from 2% to 5% of our target group by June 2017.
4. Objective for survival
To survive the current double-dip recession.
5. Objective for growth
To increase the size of our European operation from $200,000 in 2015 to $500,000 in 2016.
An objective that follows SMART is more likely to succeed because it is clear (specific) so you know exactly what needs to be achieved. You can tell when it has been achieved (measurable) because you have a way to measure completion. A SMART objective is likely to happen because it is an event that is achievable. Before setting a SMART objective relevant factors such as resources and time were taken into account to ensure that it is realistic. Finally the timescale element provides a deadline which helps people focus on the tasks required to achieve the objective. The timescale element stops people postponing task completion. But people must not confuse objectives with goals and aims. Goals and aims tend to be vague and focus on the longer-term. They will not be SMART. However, man SMART objectives start off as aims or goals and therefore they are of equal importance.