From my experience one of the most important aspects of developing your employees is setting clear objectives. I am sure most of you have heard of the acronym SMART when setting objectives but not everyone it seems understands how to set them.
I have created a simple SMART objective which I use in performance management training and it seems to hit the spot, managers all of a sudden ‘get it’!
So let’s give it a go ….
SMART stands for Specific, Measured, Achievable, Relevant and Time-scaled
Sian’s daughter Molly is given a bicycle for her birthday. Molly is upset because her new bike didn’t have the white basket on the front.
Molly’s parents tell her that if she wants the basket, she must first learn to ride the bike, as they feel she would spend too much time playing with the basket when they really want her to focus on learning to ride her bike, before their baby arrives.
Two days later Molly is very excited declaring ‘mummy and daddy come and watch I can ride my bike, you have to get me the basket!’. Her parents are astonished, so they ask Molly to show them.
Molly gets on the bike, turns the pedals once round and falls off. ‘That isn’t riding a bike they both say’. Molly begins to cry, she feels that as the bike moved forward she had ridden it.
There was no clear objective set so the outcome is misunderstood. Think about how you would set a clear SMART objective so that Molly would know exactly what was expected before she got her basket.
Example using SMART:
Specific – You need to ride the bike without stabilisers
Measureable – You will need to be able to ride it to 100 metres, or to the second lamp post from our front door
Achievable: The bike is the correct height for Molly, now that we have lowered the saddle
Relevant: Once you can ride 100 metres you will be able to reach the school gate from the alley from our house
Timescale: You have six weeks to accomplish this, before the new school term starts
Now use this simple technique for developing your staff’s performance.