Thursday, March 20, 2014

Getting Results with S.M.A.R.T. Goals

I’m sure most of you have heard have about S.M.A.R.T. goals, especially if you’re in any type of management field. The adage is that in order to reach your goals, whether personal or business, they need to be S.M.A.R.T - meaning Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. 

Since learning about them twenty years ago, I have had the opportunity to create, assist in creating or review a LOT of S.M.A.R.T. goals for many different types of organizations. Some goals were very well written and others were quite honestly terrible. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I was reading "Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It" by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson and discovered that they included a chapter on S.M.A.R.T. goals.

I call them my new HR gurus and they believe that while the S.M.A.R.T. goal methodology is sound, it lacks a clear outcome piece that is important to getting the results you want as a company. The book talks about their ROWE concept - ROWE standing for Results Only Work Environment.

Their premise is that in order to be successful nothing else matters except results. 

It doesn't matter if employees work 20 hours or 60 hours. It doesn’t matter if they work at home, a coffee shop or at the office. In fact, it doesn’t matter when, where or how long they work—the only thing that matters is results. 

They believe if you instill in your employees a crystal clear picture of the outcome (or the results) you are expecting they will achieve those results…IF they are responsible and self motivated and IF you don't let management get in the way. They feel that a lot of things companies do actually waste time, disengage employees and take the focus off results - therefore making them ineffective or financially off the mark. 

Things like mandatory meetings, sitting in traffic when you could be working (at home or the coffee shop down the street), meeting core office hour requirements and fielding constant interruptions because you have to be in the office and working with people who aren't held accountable and end up slowing down the process for others should be eliminated in order to make employees more productive and focused on results.

Holding everyone accountable especially for the results (notice I said "holding accountable," not blaming) and taking appropriate action when the employee doesn't achieve the expected results is crucial. 

One other thing they suggest is taking your wordy, paragraph long mission statement and asking "IF we actually do what our mission statement says, then what?" The example they give on page 121 is eye opening. I will let you read it for yourself. It really makes a company's outcome crystal clear and I believe them when they say if a company embraces a results-only work environment, higher success just happens.

So keep writing those S.M.A.R.T. goals but I am going to get clear on the ultimate outcome and results I want as a company and add it to my goals. 

Maybe you should, too. If you do, let me know how it turns out.

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