In my previous article I’ve presented you the idea of Big Hairy Audacious Goals in order to break mental obstacles and limitations while setting ambitious goals for you and your team (more about it here).
Some people say that goal is basically a dream with specified completion date. Unfortunately, setting just a date for a dream might not be sufficient enough to achieve it, yet it is a nice first step to do so.
Now, as we are willing to implement our idea, we need to operationalize it. There are variety of models/ methods that are useful in this stage. One of the most commonly used is SMART method, which is an acronym of words-criteria that come in handy while forming the goal. Let’s take a closer look into it.
What exactly is smart?
SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.*
Specific – we know exactly what we want to achieve
Measureable – we are able to assess (quantify) and, ideally, track progress
Achievable – we know that we possess required resources (or are able to collect them)
Relevant – if we intend to put our effort in something we need to be sure that it is important to us
Time- bound – we need to set completion date as it works as motivation and enables us to verify whether we achieved the goal or not
As it may sound abstractly take a look on the following example:
Marek: “I want to read more”
Is it a SMART goal? Unfortunately, no! What does “more” mean? What Marek would like to read (books, newspapers, leaflets)? When he will know that he reached the goal?
SMART Marek: I will read at least one business-related book per 2 weeks until the end of 2019 in order to increase my business knowledge.
Specific – Marek will read specific type of books (business-related)
Measurable – 1 book per 2 weeks
Achievable – we do not have the access to Marek’s calendar, yet objectively the goal seems achievable
Relevant – Marek perceives that goal as part of expanding his business knowledge that he might utilize in his work
Time – bound – the end of 2019
What are the benefits of being SMART?
First of all you are able to mentally explore what you actually mean by e.g “I want to read more” or “I want to exercise more” as SMART motivates you to answer such questions as what, when, how and so on.
Secondly, you bring the ambitious idea into specific, measurable statement that is necessary to form an action plan in form of short term activities.
Last but not least – whether you achieve your goal or not, you will benefit from it. If you achieve it – congratulate yourself, reward with something that you like. If you fail – you will be able to assess which element was the weak spot in the whole plan and now you will be able to fix it!
So, are you going to be SMART?
* Presented expansions of acronym could be named differently e.g. S – strategic, M – motivating, A – agreed, Ambitious, R – resourced, results-based, T-trackable, testable