I am a major fan of SMART goals. There is a lot of debate over who coined the acronym. Personally – I’m just glad someone did!
There are several variations of the acronym, but the criteria generally are represented as:
- Relevant and
Learning to help your team set specific goals is one of the greatest strengths a supervisor or manager can bring to his or her team. Consider what happens when we don’t in the context of the goal of accomplishing daily work tasks. I say to an employee, “Can you get some paper from the copy room?” The employee goes to the copy room and brings me one piece of green paper. “No, I meant bring white paper.” The employee takes off again and shortly returns one piece of paper.” I then say, “No, I meant ten pieces of paper.”
As you can see, lack of specific instructions can lead to wasted time and energy while contributing to frustration and rework. How much of that would potentially be mitigated in the previous example if I had said, “Will you please bring me one ream of 8 ½ “ X 11” plain white copy paper from the copy room?” Obviously, I could have been even more specific, but you get the idea. I am not advocating micro-specifics, but certainly think it is important to speak as specifically as is reasonable.
This applies to all aspects of the workplace. Not only will speaking in specifics help establish clearer goals among supervisors and direct reports, asking for specifics will help with everything from providing excellent customer service to coaching and mentoring.
What about your own experiences? How have specific goals contributed to a more productive workplace?
Next week: measurable goals.