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

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Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

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Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

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LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

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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.

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We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

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Human Resources Manager

The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

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Vice President, Information Technology

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.

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Firmware Engineering Manager

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Workforce Planning Bureau

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Hyperion

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Maya Paul
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