Are you working SMART?

Whenever I want to research something or look at things from a different angle, I start by googling my keyword and see what is suggested based on my previous search patterns. It’s not the most scientific approach but a good start to get inspired. Today I want to write about targets and the concept of SMART.
As it turns out (and not surprisingly) my search result shows 4 pages of a certain car manufacturer and driving, buying, leasing a car. I am a bit surprised since I am not too keen on cars, but this keyword seems to be smart for all other users.
Back to what I was actually trying to say without having to check google.
SMART is a business concept widely popular in business practice -especially project management and personnel management. Over the past decades it has achieved fame among business students and practitioners alike.

Why do we like acronyms and use them in business, also? One reason could be to save time or maybe we love secret code word only know to the “inner circle”. I think we love acronyms because they are easy to remember, have significance as a word and concept and they are often down to what is important. This is very much true for SMART. And if you set SMART targets, you will succeed.

What does SMART mean?
What is so challenging about targets is to define them and then keep working on achieving them. Smart sounds like a buzz word, similar to sharp, clever, cunning, savvy, intelligent, prudent or bright … all synonym for smart but they don’t help to define targets. So, what helps is to define targets by looking at the specific letters of SMART. Today you will find different words with the respective initial letter, all equally applicable to the concept of SMART. Which one you pick, or whether you use all, is up to you.

S stands for specific but can also mean simple or significant.
M stands for measurable and to me also meaningful, motivational and very much manageable.
A stands for achievable, attainable, accepted, appropriate, agreed, assignable, actionable, ambitious, aligned and should be attractive for a person to reach.
R stands for reasonable, relevant, as well as realistic, resourced, resonant
T stands for time-bound, time-oriented, Time-based, timely, time-specific, trackable, tangible

Practical examples
Would you consider the following targets SMART?
1. I will earn a million Euro
2. I want that promotion / job offer / client
3. On June 1st I will have lost 10 Kg in weight
4. I want to emigrate to Australia
5. My target is to retire when I am 55
6. I am going to run the Iron Man in Hawaii
7. We will finish that work project this month
8. I will sit on my desk and start working every morning at 8 am
9. This year I will find my partner for life
10. I go with the flow

1. What a measurable target! What a great target! But without time line, milestones, action steps this just remains a dream
2. Definitely the right mindset. Yet how will this come about? How can you influence it. If you put it like that, aren’t you just a little bit too reliant on others like other candidates and bidders?
3. The weight loss target with a clear deadline in the near future, a realistic weight loss goal can make it achievable and help keep motivation to proceed
4. Is emigrating a reachable goal? Do you fulfill the prerequisites, and do you have a clear roadmap that leads to you it?
5. Early retirement is a great long-term goal, yet it is much more achievable if you break it down and live towards it.
6. The Iron Man is a clear goal with clear prerequisites. There are many plans, coaches and buddies to help you achieving this goal. Yet: have you weighted carefully whether you have a body aptitude, the finances and time to train, thus is it achievable?
7. Announcing this at a team meeting will most likely guarantee approval and motivate the team. Make sure its realistic and everyone knows what is needed to achieve this. Only because a project has been ongoing for a while and everyone is tired of it, does not automatically it can be finished. Why else is it still not finished?
8. Schedule and structure, no doubt are a plus. Is 8 am, however, realistic? Is this in accordance with your bio rhythm, is it the right time for the industry and country you work in? If in 9 out of 10 times you don’t achieve it, how does this affect you?
9. Finding a partner can be a target. And if you break it down into action steps that you can follow, you will have a good chance of succeeding.
10. Going with the flow is probably the target most unfitting to SMART.

Yet after having defined, analyzed, written down, implemented your goals, maybe there is also room for “going with the flow” in certain areas! I don’t think every aspect of one’s life needs to be SMART. Else you will be more occupied with keeping track, correcting, reassessing your life than actually living it.

Find more input on the focus topic targets and the compagneur programme on youtube and here.

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