Managing SMART Objectives

Published: 08th February 2008
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Managing S.M.A.R.T. Objectives

Objectives that we give our managers and other employees can elevate our company to excellence when carried out successfully. Objectives that are understood and easy to evaluate at any time are classically referred to as S.M.A.R.T. objectives.

This method of formatting objectives I am sure goes back a long way, however Peter Drucker is credited with documenting the concept in 1954.

Objectives to you may appear clear and obvious, however unless you follow the SMART format, they can be open to interpretation. This is especially the case if objectives are passed down the chain of command. Every expression of the objective can introduce variances and compromise the whole exercise in the end.

There's lots of information on the net about SMART objectives. This article is to remind you and particularly your subordinates that when developing objectives, even day to day, that everyone uses the SMART format.

As a reminder here are the 5 elements of a SMART objective:

T-Time based
There are a variety of types of objectives that can be written, all can be done in the SMART format.

Process objectives
tell what you are doing and how you will do it; describes participants, interactions and activities
Impact objectives
tell how you will change attitudes, knowledge or behaviour (short term); describe the degree to which you expect this change
Outcome objectives
tell what the long term implications of your program/ activity will be; describes longer term impact on your target audience
SMART objectives should be kept simple. Try to express the main objective in one sentence.

Get everyone in the habit of working with SMART objectives. The concept has stood the test of time!

Take Action Today

Look at all the information on the internet regarding SMART objectives. Review this format with all levels of management. Make it part of your culture to express and communicate objectives in the SMART format.
Use the SMART format for both written as well as verbal objectives.

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