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Bitesize No 11 – SMART ALEC Objectives


As you develop your business partner skills you will inevitably find yourself constantly looking at both business and training objectives.

If the objectives are unclear the training will be unfocused and probably ineffective as a result. So you need to really hone your objective setting skills.

One acronym with which you will already be well acquainted is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound) and it is a good solid discipline to follow.

Do not agree to do any training unless everyone is working to SMART objectives.

The initial objectives we looked at in Bitsesize 5 did not satisfy all of the SMART criteria so we had to put some effort into making them clearer before we could start to decide what training solution might be appropriate.

Now we need to add some more criteria to really pin the objectives down by ensuring they are: -

Added value - Having described in Bitesize 7 what added value is each objective should be designed to add value. There should be a clear line of sight together with a statement of how the activity will add value.

Linked - to measures in the business plan. There is always a temptation to get excited when a manager wants to instigate some ‘training’ activity (e.g. teambuilding) but the sober question to ask is where are the links with existing business measures? If the team building works which business measures will move?

Enabled - in the sense that they can be achieved by the person concerned. A good trainer can teach an employee many new skills, take problem solving as an example. However, if that trainee is not allowed to put their newfound skills and knowledge into practice the training has failed. Enablement should be designed into the objectives (e.g. each trainee will be given time to undertake a short, work-based problem analysis).

Challenging - and therefore worthwhile and motivating. The best developmental objectives stretch the individual. Setting objectives that are too easy to achieve result in the trainee feeling that they have not learned anything really worthwhile and they get little satisfaction out of the exercise.

Serious business partners should always aim to use SMART ALEC objectives in their training and development.

Paul is happy to take questions and comments and can be contacted at:mailto:[email protected]

Earlier articles in this series can be found at:
The Bitesize Business Partners Page


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