Friday, March 4, 2011

bigger, better, brighter...smarter?

It's time to get down to business...
It's time to talk battle plans...
It's time to set some objectives to build towards those milestones!

Now objectives are the steps along the road that keep us going in the right direction.
They're the short focussed tasks that build towards our milestones and carry us towards our vision.

But what makes a good objective?

Having spent most of my working life sitting down with people and talking about objectives I'm still a fan of SMART objectives. Now there are an aweful lot of people out there (many of them managers) who have no clue when it comes to setting objectives. Which we can't afford to happen when we're talking about our own personal self development.

So here is my crash guide to setting SMART objectives.

SMART what?
Ok SMART or SMARTER is a mnemonic used in project management that has become transposed over into the performance management and personal coaching spheres.
It's basically a way of making sure that any objective covers the key basic requirements of good objectives.

The first known uses of the term occur in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. (according to Wikipedia)

SMART is a nmenm...what?
SMART stands for:-

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable & Ambitious
R - Relevant Realistic,
T - Timed,
...and all good objectives should be SMART...let me explain

We're at the stage where we want a definable objective to focus on and throw our energy into.
Our objectives need to be specific at this stage, detailed, focussed, well defined and concrete.
They need to be easily understood, promote positive action and have a required outcome.
Objectives need to communicate what you would like to see happen.

To help  you get specific here are a few questions to think about:-

WHAT am I going to do? Use strong, action verbs such as conduct, develop, build, plan, execute, etc. This helps your objective to be action-orientated and focuses on what’s most important.
WHY is this important for me to do? Build this towards your milestones and vission
WHO needs to be involved? Need help to achieve this objective?
WHEN am I going to carry this out?
HOW am I going to do this?

To help keep you motivated you often need to see results. 
The easiest way to see results is to track your progress and that requires a way of measuring what you do.
If we measure what we do then we can compare performance and see what works and what doesn't. As is so often quoted, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it! Importantly, measurement help us to know when we have achieved our objective.

We're in the daily detail of changing our behaviour. At this level we want to be setting ourselves objectives that we feel are achievable. It needs to be something you can see yourself doing in the short term, building towards milestones in the future, but very much rooted in the present.
Objectives, unlike your visions, need to be achievable to keep you motivated.
However whilst being obtainable, objectives still need to stretch you just not too far :)

Objectives that are achievable, may not be realistic….
Running three miles a day is achievable but I might not always have time - so it isn't realistic.
But - realistic does not mean easy!
Realistic means that you have the resources to get it done be that skills, money, time, equipment etc
Most objectives are achievable but, may require a change in your priorities to make them happen.

We're picking focussed objectives here so they need to be short term.
Setting deadlines for the objective brings that focus and sense of urgency. If you don’t set a deadline, you will reduce the motivation and urgency required to achieve your objective. Deadlines prompts action.


So think about where you want to get to - your BHAG
Think about those milestones along the way...
...then get down and drity with some specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed objectives


  1. This is very helpful, nice post!
    I must say though, acronyms have always irked me.

  2. I like how driven you sound as you post this, you must have a background in motivational counseling.

  3. Acronyms have always helped me remember things easier like the order of operations in math.


  4. I agree with Spiral, Acronyms make studying a whole lot easier...I love this haha.

  5. I was taught that is the right way to go about goal making.

  6. See my mind works differently, since I have to remember the acronym and also remember what each letter stands for. I find it harder to remember things that way.

  7. Hello lovely :)!

    thanks so much for your sweet comment :)!

    Wish you a great weekend :)

    with love

  8. yeah objectives are always great and motivational, and i think it gives you a better change of achieving what you want

  9. Ah, the SMART objective. A pretty old guideline that never stopped holding true.

  10. I, for one, like acronyms. I find it helps me remember info easier. :)

  11. very true! smart goals! thanks


  12. i find i can't really use acronyms
    i like for instance, HONClBrIF, but i dont think that counts

  13. hi, smart person reporting in

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  15. acronyms are great

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  16. great stuff, you totally have my support!

  17. I'm going to try and put this into practice, my life needs direction and this, I think, could probably help me a lot, thanks G!

  18. Great post again. Great info. :D

  19. I usually create acronyms to save myself time from saying stuff... never though of it that way

  20. this is exactly what i need to get back on track with my classes

  21. really great advice, thank you i really needed to read that.

    ~Following :)

  22. like the advice, great post.

  23. wow that is so cool. followed. follow back please thanx

  24. This is actually a well thought out and useful blog post. Thanks!

  25. really interesting man, keep it up. Following!

  26. SMART of you to inform us about this ^_^

  27. Well stated. I agree, there has to be some proper planning.

  28. You can get some fun results with the TRAP Recursive Acronym Program...

  29. following and supporting $

  30. What kind of SMART objectives have you set yourself/ your team? Are yours quite broad goals or more defined?