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John Rice

Bowland Solutions

Sales & Marketing Director

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5 key factors to ensure your SMART objectives work


It is that time of year again for many organisations as they look to set SMART objectives for the coming 12 months; we often find ourselves running many training programmes on this very topic in January, as well as kicking off our free 'Meaningful Conversations' webinars to offer a refresher to Line Managers and alike - this Friday 30th January if you are interested.

SMART is well rooted in our psyche as a template for effective objective setting, but its practice is often poorly executed. It is worth considering the origins of SMART so we can understand how to bring about good practice derived from the theory.

The original studies related to the topic of motivation being studied in the 1950s/1960s in leading US business schools such as Harvard and Stanford, where they wished to test the premise of whether a conscious goal affected action & performance.

The core findings provide us a useful 5 tips as we look to have Line Managers and employees set SMART objectives:

  • Specific goals consistently lead to higher performance over simply urging people to 'do their best'.

  • Goals needed to be difficult (or stretching) to lead to this higher performance

  • Goals provided direction, energised individuals, affected levels of persistence/resilience and stimulated learning & development 

  • The Goal-Perfomance link is strongest when people are committed to their goals and/or have participated in setting them

  • Goals are only effective with feedback

The last point is key; it presents Line Managers with an opportunity to be instrumental in the successful achievement or otherwise of their team member's objectives and points to the fact that Performance Management is an interlocking and interdependent series of conversations.

If you want to explore this topic further then there are a few seats remaining on this Friday's webinar at 1pm GMT.

Author Profile Picture
John Rice

Sales & Marketing Director

Read more from John Rice

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