Effective performance management begins with developing clear expectations of what is to be accomplished and standards that can be translated into goals.
Well-articulated goals embody the SMART principle. They are:
- Specific – goals should be targeted, nor broad and general. They should be unambiguous and explicit. They should be clearly understood by any number of different people.
- Measurable – you should be able to tell quickly and easily if an individual has met the standard and expectation. You should develop a set of criteria that will be indicative of success or failure in meeting the goal.
- Achievable – you’ll want to set goals that are challenging, but not incredibly difficult to achieve. A challenging objective is motivating, an impossible one is demotivating.
- Results Oriented – don’t get caught in the activity trap. Your goals should focus on the results you expect people to achieve, not the activities they will undertake to get there. For example, “improved presentation skills” is a result; “participating in a presentation skills training program” is an activity. It’s possible to complete activities and not achieve the desired result.
- Time Specified – people need to know the deadlines associated with goals. In a manufacturing environment, time frames may be very short (i.e. X number of pieces per shift). In a sales environment, time frames may be longer (i.e. $X sales per month or quarter). Well developed and stated goals come with time limits.
BOTTOMLINE: When setting goals for 2007, use your common sense and be SMART about it.