You may have heard of the SMART principle for setting objectives. Let's explain what it means, along with some variations and considerations.

SMART

Specific



Ensure it is specific
The key to setting any objective is to make it exact, clear and specific. Any question that begins with what, when, how or why is a good starter. You will know your objective is specific enough if:
1.Everyone who’s involved knows that it includes them specifically.
2.Everyone involved can understand it.
3.Your objective is free from slang and jargon.

Measurable



Make them measurable

Measurable is the most important consideration. Ensure that you both know when the objective has been achieved, and how they are going to track progress. Good questions to use are "How will you keep me updated?", and "What will success look like/feel like/sound like?"

Achievable



Is it achievable?

There’s no point in starting a job you know you can’t finish, or one where you can’t tell if/when you’ve finished it. How can you decide if it’s achievable?
1.You know it’s measurable because others have done it successfully (before you, or somewhere else).
2.It’s theoretically possible (ie clearly achievable’).
3.You have the necessary resources, or at least a realistic chance of getting them.
4.You’ve assessed the limitations.

Realistic



Are they relevant?
Make sure that all of your teams objectives are aligned with your departments objectives. You can not lead your team into the achievement you want, if your teams objectives are leading them in a different direction.

Timebound



Are they timebound?
Are there specific timings that need to be met?
What milestones are there.
When does this objective need to be completed by?

To summarise a useful methodology when setting successful objectives is to make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, reaslistic and timebound).

If you have a specific issue with their performance then tell them and discuss and agree ways to move their performance in the right direction. Review time should not really throw up any surprises from either side if you have been meeting with them regularly and discussing throughout the year. Remember if you approach a performance review correctly, you and your team will benefit. You’ll work better together, you’ll get more done in less time, and you’ll trust each other. And as you build trust, giving reviews will get easier and easier.

About the author

phil laviolettephil laviolette

Hi!, I'm Phil LaViolette, Founder and Owner of evalu8d. I created resourcily to share hints, tips and resources I've collected over 20 years of training and coaching, across lots of industries and at all levels. I hope that, even in a small way, you gain from the tools I share!
Phil