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SMART Objectives


Can anyone advise on setting objectives for a lesson and setting SMART objectives for managers when conducting staff appraisals.
I am currently writing a teach on this subject.
jayne williams

6 Responses

  1. What exactly do you want them to be able to do at the end of the
    Hi Jayne

    Setting learning objectives is just about the most important part of planning a session. The whole session really does build itself once you have got robust objectives in place. The first question to ask is “What exactly do I want them to be able to DO by the end of the session?” This helps you avoid starting objectives with


    which are difficult to measure. So, for example, if they need to understand the importance of health and safety in the office, you could say:

    By the end of the session you will be able to:

    Explain the importance of H&S in the office……..
    Describe your role in maintaining a safe environment

    etc etc

    By setting objectives in this way you help focus your own attention on the learning, rather than the teaching and have a ready made evaluation for the end.

    Hope this helps. Email me if you want to discuss this further.

    All the best


  2. Process important
    Hi Jenny
    I agree – its really important to get the performance objectives right. But how you arrive at them is vital too – should be through a process of negotiation so that people take ownership, and are accountable.
    I have designed some materials on setting SMART objectives for performance appraisal and could let you have some of it if you email me.
    Best wishes
    Jane Smith

  3. Mager Six Pack

    Have a look at the ‘Mager Six Pack.’

    Volumes include ‘Goal Analysis,’ ‘Analyzing Performance Problems’ and ‘Preparing Instructional Objectives.’

    ‘How to Improve Performance Through Appraisal and Coaching’ by Don Kirkpatrick is worth a read as well.


    Scott G. Welch

  4. smart

    Quite agree with the comments so far. Another useful tool to use is to ask the following questions:

    1. Are the goals stated in positives? Negatives do not compute operationally in the way they do intellectually. therefore stating the goal, result, action or desired direction in positive terms rather than negative terms is most useful. (This is why, for instance, most new years resolutions fail – they are about giving something up rather than doing something positive).

    2. Are the goals initiated and maintained by the person for whom they have been set? We can only control ourselves, our own behaviour , our own feelings, etc. The reverse is also true. We cannot be held responsible for other people’s behaviour, actions, feelings, etc. So ‘good’ goals cannot be dependent on the actions of another person or situation. The desired state must be under the direct and personal control of the person for whom the goal has been set.

    3. Are the goals defined and evaluated according to sensory based evidence? In other words, how will you know the goal has been achieved? What will you see, feel, hear, touch, etc? The best goals impact at least 3 senses.

    4. Are the goals appropriately contextualised to fit the person’s overall ‘ecology’? In other words, do the goals conflict with some other element of the person’s environment, including family responsibilities, friendships and job prospects and security? If they do then the goal is much less likely to be achieved.

    5. Do the goals conflict with or negate something that the person currently does which they perceive as being positive? If they do then you may also find the goals less likely to be achieved. You need to make sure that the ‘removed positive’ is clearly replaced b something they perceive as being even more positive. (Note: not something you perceive they would consider more positive, but something they themselves actually consider so. Much of this is emotional, not rational!).

    Best wishes

  5. Don’t forget
    The word ‘agree’ needs to be there too in the staff appraisal part of your question.

    The most effective way for managers to identify performance improvements is using the staff member’s own words to agree what will be improved, by how much, when by, and how. The agreement then makes the new appraisal objective less ‘top down’ and more how the pseudo team of manager and staff member will improve.

    Negotiating from the staff member’s words to a SMART objective understood by all is the most common area I have found wanting.


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