How to Make Your SMART Goals SMARTER

How to make your SMART goals SMARTER

Would You Like to Make Your Smart Goals Smarter?
Leaders can stimulate higher performance if they make SMART Goals SMARTER.

The History of SMART Goals
SMART goals have been around since managers in the 1980’s discussed the importance of objectives and the difficulty of setting them effectively.  The idea makes sense for leaders and managers to help make sure that each individual, team and the company as a whole has clear objectives that are:

  • Specific – goals clear enough and specific enough to focus your efforts
  • Measurable – goals where progress can be tracked so it is clear where you stand
  • Achievable – goals realistic and attainable enough to buy into
  • Relevant – goals that matter enough to the individual, their boss, their team and the company as a whole to strive to achieve
  • Time-bound – goals that have a deadline of when the result(s) can be achieved

What SMART Goals Do
SMART goals are an effective management tool that provides clarity, focus, motivation and accountability.  The best leaders, however, know that more is needed to stimulate higher and differentiated performance from their teams.

How to Improve SMART Goals
To make SMART Goals SMARTER, leaders must find the narrow performance window where a goal will have the desired effect of motivating people to perform at their peak.  For example, how a leader or manager defines “Achievable” has a major impact on team performance.

  • Goals that Are Too Difficult – If the goal is too difficult, people will become dis-engaged.
  • Goals that Are Too Easy – If the goal is too easy, you will not motivate the maximum effort or outcome.

The Performance Window
So when it comes to setting goals, there is a performance window of “Just Possible” that makes goals more potent in driving improved performance than just being “Achievable.”

The Hallmark of High Performance
Clear and simple goals are the hallmark of a high performance culture. Without them, it is difficult to provide the direction and focus necessary to maximize performance.

  • An example of a clear goal is climbing to the top of Mount Everest – defined simply as “Summiting” (and ideally returning safely).  The goal is so clear that it has been reduced to one word.
  • Another example of a clear and simple goal is “Finding water on Mars” – a goal defined by NASA.  Their is no ambiguity regarding what the NASA team is trying to accomplish.

Four Attributes to Improve SMART Goals
So remember, if you want your leaders and managers to sustain the right amount of performance pressure to drive improved performance to meet important targets, make SMART goals SMARTER by adding these four attributes to your SMART goals:

1.  Clear, Simple and Few
To create clarity, there cannot be any doubt about the direction and focus of what you want people to achieve.   Efforts, resources and energy should not be diluted.  For big strategic goals, try not to have more than two or three at any one time.

2.  Understood and Believable Enough
First, people must be able to articulate what they are trying to accomplish.  Then they must believe that it is possible within your unique corporate culture and the market conditions in which you compete.  Do not strive for 100% perfection.  It will take too long.

You just need a “good enough” understanding and “good enough” belief to move forward cohesively so you can learn and inevitably adjust along the way.

3.  Just Possible
Different than Achievable, effective high performance goals are a bit of a stretch.  People should perceive the objectives to be challenging but within their control.  Strive to make important goals just within people’s grasp to motivate them to push to their limits.  You want goals to stimulate the next level of performance.

4.  Meaningful, Fulfilling and Relevant
The goals should be tied to intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and be proportional to the achievement of the objectives.  Ideally the goals:

  • Hold personal significance
  • Are emotionally felt by the team
  • Are aligned with the environmental circumstances

The Bottom Line
High performance teams set meaningful, clear and achievable goals that create full commitment from the entire team.

To learn more about creating a high performance team, download The Three Levels of a High Performing Team Cultures

Comments are closed.

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

Jennifer Remling
Director of Global Recruiting

AKQA

LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More