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How to write SMART Objectives

Most of us have heard of the acronym SMART, but may well struggle with being able to write SMART objectives.

This is because that while writing objectives is easy, SMART objectives are designed to be just that: smarter. As a result, writing them is not necessarily as simple as you may think.

However, SMART objectives are fundamental to a high performing organisation as they increase clarity and engagement, and should underpin your performance management process. Research (Locke & Latham 2002) demonstrates consistently that stretching but achievable goals motivate people to deliver their best. They also provide staff with clarity and purpose which is the foundation of employee engagement.

So what does SMART stand for, and how do you write SMART objectives? (Or in this case, SMARTER objectives?)

S Specific/Stretching
M Measurable
A Achievable, Agreed
R Relevant
T Timed
E Engaging
R Reviewable

How to be specific when writing SMART objectives:

Being specific while writing your objectives is all about being clear so that both you and the individual understand exactly what is required. If an objective is general rather than specific, it can be very difficult to evaluate the progress that has been made against it without being subjective. Given that performance against objectives often ends up being rated, being specific is really important. In the end, it should mean that almost anyone – specifically, any manager – could evaluate the extent to which the objective has been met, as managers may change over the course of the year and it is unfair on the individual for this change to influence their rating.

Notice the difference?

General: Put together a team to reduce service times.

Specific: Put together a Project Management Team from lean accredited production representatives to create and implement lean improvements in order to reduce average engine service times.

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