Planning for the next 12 months.

Dilbert Measurable Objectives

by Drew Carlisle, Remesys Consultant

It is November, the end of the year is nearly upon us which means. It is time to focus on the fun stuff. Right? Holidays, Christmas parties, long summer nights, lovely warm weather and for some of us, setting up the next 12 months performance plan.

Like Dilbert and his co-workers, I used to struggle to develop meaningful goals that would help guide me through the coming 12 months. Do you use The 5 W’s, Achievable objectives, measurable objectives, SMART or SMARTER goals? Like me, I am sure you have heard of them all, but what do they all mean? From my experience, the simplest, more effective way to break it down is from the SMARTER acronym (hence the clever name!)

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound, Ethical & Relevant

All makes complete sense now, right? Should be really easy to write up well-meaning goals from now on. No? Of course not. If it was as easy as writing up a clever acronym, everyone would be doing it.

Specific – Goals that are specific have a much higher chance of being accomplished.

Measurable – Having a clearly measurable goal that can be tracked during the year gives you a greater incentive to keep striving

Achievable – Goals should make you stretch a little to achieve them. If your goal is too simple to achieve, motivation could dwindle or worse restrict productivity once they have been accomplished. Likewise if your goal is too extreme, motivation and productivity could reduce once you realise that it’s not achievable.

Realistic – How much control do you have over your goal? Are there any external measures that could stop this goal being achieved? External market factors, budgetary issues, family or personal constraints that might impact on your ability to deliver your goals? Make sure you have taken these into account when planning out your goals. Also have you set too many goals, are you spreading yourself too thin? Remember, achieving 3 goals will always better than almost achieving 10.

Time Bound – Being time bound adds a sense of urgency to a goal. It also assists with defining the measurability and achievability of the goal. Not all goals will be 12 months long. Some may be longer, or shorter. Getting clear on when you need to achieve something is as important as what you need to achieve.

Ethical – Research shows that people will resist doing unethical things. So why set yourself up to fail by setting unethical goals? Before you start out, make sure you’re comfortable with what is being asked of you and how you’re going to get there.

Relevant – When a goal means something to you will find ways of achieving it. In order to increase your chances of success, work through each of your goals and outline why it’s important for YOU to achieve it.

Now let’s add this to the 5 W’s of writing - Who, What, Where, When and Why – and try to articulate some goals.

As an example - “To achieve a good bonus, I am going to write more news articles for the internet in the future”.

In order to apply the SMARTER method to this goal, I like to use another long forgotten method. The good old mind map or explosion chart. So starting with my basic badly written goal in the centre, we can map each of the SMARTER functions to put together a well-planned goal.

Dilbert on Measurable Objectives

By the end you should have something that looks like this.

“In the calendar year of 2016, I will write 6 news articles of 500 – 750 words. To achieve this I will write 1 article every 2 months on the topics of Performance Leadership for employees and managers. The articles will be targeted to current and prospective clients. These articles with be reviewed by the editor prior to publishing and will be made available on the company blog site. Comments and feedback relating to the articles will be captured and used to continuously improve my output.”

Now not only have I articulated what I want to achieve I have also added in components on how and when I will achieve it. This method assist with measurability and also helps me track my progress during the year. Adding in the feedback loop assists with the reviewing process as I will be regularly measuring and reporting on my progress. This means I don’t have to come up with twelve months’ worth of information just before my annual performance review.

Now armed with these tips, go forth and turn your goal doldrums into an enjoyable writing process!

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Looking to revive your current performance review process? Talk to us today about a demo of R.Performance…Contact us to request a demo.