Wednesday, November 25, 2009

S.M.A.R.T.I. Goal Setting

Focus: Personal Productivity, Performance Success

A tool for accelerated performance enhancement
Despite the fact that goal setting is a powerful tool, it’s also true that many people have never been taught the most effective way to go about it. The SMARTI technique is a useful tool in helping you become skilled at goal setting to ultimately achieve more and more of your desired outcomes.
Why set goals:
  1. provides an intended road map
  2. provides focus
  3. implies to the brain what I can and want to do
  4. creates motivation energy – great tool for self management  
The S.M.A.R.T.I. Approach to Goal Setting
Tip: You can use numbers or if in the case of behavior development, it’s got to be an actual behavior that can be developed.  We want to work in conjunction with how the mind works. To stop a behavior the mind doesn’t necessarily stop, but it works in creating new behaviors by mapping new neuropathways. So in essence, the way to change something is to create an overriding behavior in its place.

We’re usually using them regarding actions to complete. I also recommend behaviors you want to develop. This is an essential tool in coaching employees and creating effective performance management.

In some cases, you’ll be developing behaviors that don’t currently exist but are necessary to desired performance.
Example of behavior goal:
Overriding Goal – to become a better listener
More specific – I will listen 80-90% of the time in my conversations 

A key consideration under this section is to begin with the end in mind; get a “picture” of what it’s going to look like when the goal is achieved. (In fact a great additional exercise is to write out in as much detail what that picture looks like). When the picture is created, it creates a crisp focus which supplies additional motivation and prepares the mind for targeted action.  

This criterion embodies several requirements. You need to ensure that the crafted goal statement is a combination of realistic and practical and marked by sufficient stretch. Remember, one key purpose of a goal is to create motivational energy. In order to do that, it must be realistically achievable, neither too easy to hit nor impossible to hit and within your own control and sphere of influence.

The stretch nature of goals has received a good deal of attention in recent years. Jack Welch, for one, was a tireless supporter of aggressive stretch goals. And, then, there’s a rather influential book by two Stanford Business-school faculty, Built to Last — Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (by Collins and Porras, HarperBusiness, 1994). This book also extols the benefits of stretch goals, which it terms BHAGs — Big Hairy Audacious Goals! Fun… and some very compelling research behind it, too.

While pretty self-evident, it’s still important to stress that you’re going to want to establish goals that will lead to end results that matter, are meaningful, and will have a substantive impact — ideally, both for yourself and for your organization. Again, it goes without saying, but if a goal is truly results-oriented, then it must also be action-oriented; real stuff’s got to happen. “Just Do It” captures this sentiment well.

To be complete, the goal statement must be framed by a time-based expectation. It could be a time-frame, a deadline, or a series of time governed steps. This self-imposed pressure further augments the motivational energy that flows from the goal statement. The time-based benchmarks must also satisfy the achievable criteria — realistic, practical, and stretch.

Most all goal-crafting techniques overlook this sixth and final criterion. To be optimally tuned, you must do whatever possible to ensure that a given goal statement harmonizes with the larger business strategy — of your team, your business unit, and/or your corporation. It fuels motivation when the goal-setter is keenly aware that the outcome really matters – has meaningful impact in the bigger picture. When done successfully, harmonizing the personal goals with the business need/strategy delivers more bang for the buck and only heightens the potential impact and, thus, also the benefits/rewards.

This document was produced to compliment other lessons in the series Developing a Productivity Mindset
Other topics:
Efficient Execution
Going Beyond Execution
How to Conduct a Goal Setting Meeting 

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