Five Reasons to Become SMART

Are you SMART?

Every year millions of people receive performance appraisals and feedback related to their work. When that feedback is given there is always a question of​relevancy. How do the Appraiser and the Appraise know if they have the same goals in mind when measuring performance?

If people were motors it would be easy. You could measure the number of times the person revolves per minute and make some other basic calculations. It would be simplerepeatable and easy to explain.

As we know people are not motors or machines. There are complexities and subtleties in the way we work and interact with people, processes and technology. Creating a framework with a few simple dimensions allows both parties to have a simple dialogue and create a contract of understanding. We want everyone to become SMART.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific – Can you state the goal clearly and with a single meaning in a well understood vocabulary?
  • Measurable – What are the specific and detailed metrics you will use to know if the goal is achieved?
  • Achievable – Can the goals be achieved by the person in question with the resources skills they have?
  • Realistic – Are these goals, based on time, quality, resources possible?
  • Timely – Can we define a specific timeframe by which the goals must be accomplished? Are they relevant to activities happening here and now? Would it be better to give feedback over smaller, more context (here and now) relevant timeframes? Social media has become a great vehicle for businesses and people in terms of that context. Have you ever received feedback three months after an event? Think about how that made you feel

Use simple words to describe your goals and measures. Personally, I can be the worst offender when it comes to keeping it simple ;) I have a tendency to use what one person called “a lot of ten dollar words.” This doesn't make them less valid but it can create the sense of trying to hide/distance something or confuse the listener.

As you create a person's goals keep in mind who your audience is at the time(usually one person and HR). Account for their years of experience and role. No matter how technical the role, try to keep jargon out of the description.

Try “Create five new and reusable libraries using .Net” vs. “Code five Assemblies.” The second one might sound smarter and be more precise but it will be more difficult to discuss with a third party should it become necessary.

When you need to develop goals and measures ensure that you allow enough time to develop the dimensions and review with others. Taking them on the journey of how you came up with these goals is equally important as delivering them.

What are your lessons learned from being SMART?