Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How to be SMART.

Ok, so you have decided to create SMART targets for your people. Great acronyms have multiple definitions:

S - Specific, significant, stretching
M - Measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - Agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - Realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - Time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

All of these words are useful and I’m sure we all have learned them somewhere, and it STILL is difficult to assess the performance afterwards, right?

Here’s a way to look at it:

When you start the cycle and set out to create targets, make sure you have a conversation with your people starting with some simple questions:

  • How will we know if you achieved these targets?
  • What will it look like to achieve them 50% ?
  • What will it mean to overachieve?
  • What does it MEAN “to get better at…
Create some examples and record them and bring them back at the end of the period.

You must have this discussion up front. Most assessment conversations (quarrels) goes bad because we don’t have a useful way of agreeing what the achievement IS – at the time we are in the assessment itself and the person’s promotion/salary increase etc is on the line.

This is like an investments – the real benefit will be seen at the end of the period.

The good news: You will get better at this. When you’ve had some really tricky assessment conversations where you couldn’t agree on how to measure the achievements, then you learn to do a better job setting SMART targets and AGREE on how to measure them.

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