Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Keeping Score on Organizational Goals 5

Step 4:  Set SMART Goals
SMART Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.  It is much more likely that you achieve your goal if you make it a SMART Goal ("I will lose 15 pounds by May 31 by eating fewer fats and desserts, more fruits and veggies, walking briskly for 45 minutes 3 times a week, and weighing myself weekly") as opposed to what I call a New Year's Resolution ("I will lose weight this year").
  • Specific - Consider the difference between, "We want to sell more contracts than have ever been sold within this company," and "Our goal is to sell 20,000 units by March 15." Specific goals paint a much clearer picture for people and let them know exactly how they are doing in achieving them.
  • Measurable - Most goals should be quantifiable and measurable.  If not, they are probably wishful thinking rather than a goal and not likely to be attained.
  • Achievable - Although challenging, goals must not discourage team members who may conclude that they are impossible or too difficult to attain.  Goals need to cause people to stretch but be perceived as "doable."
  • Realistic - Goals should be realistic and within reach.  Team members must believe that the goal can be accomplished and be willing to commit to the goal.
  • Time-Bound - A goal should also have a timeframe for its completion.  This will vary depending upon the nature of the goal. However, without a timeframe, there is not pressure to compel people towards its accomplishment. 
Actions to Support Goals:
  • Are there specific actions you need to take to achieve each goal?
  • Do you need to get better at what you are already doing? 
Some of these actions require a great deal of planning and effort and may involve the help of management or support departments. Therefore, team members need to make sure that they do not take the actions lightly and that they coordinate their efforts with others in the organization.
Once the basic template for keeping score has been developed, the challenge to the team is to make sure that those who need to know the metrics have frequent feedback.  The other steps in keeping score are meaningless if people don't receive feedback about how they are doing.

Feedback is like reporting the score during a game. To be meaningful, it must be up-to-date. It isn't very motivating or effective to wait until tomorrow to tally and report the score of tonight's game.  We want to know immediately where we stand and how we are doing.

People can't take ownership of their processes and results if they don't receive feedback about how they are doing.
Guidelines for Providing Feedback
  • Feedback should be frequent, accessible to everyone, and easy to understand.
  • Visual displays of feedback in the form of charts and graphs are far more effective than the written word.
  • Feedback should go not only to team members, but also to other stakeholders (customers, managers, suppliers, other departments) whose decisions and behavior impact your team.
  • Some of the common ways feedback is provided are:
    • "Scoreboards": Like the scoreboard at a basketball game, these are large visual displays, sometimes electronic, that are updated continually telling the team how they are doing on a few key metrics.
    • Standard and regular reports: results are summarized into a daily or weekly report which is posted or circulated so everyone can see it.
    • Review sessions: these are report-out sessions in which team members meet with stakeholders and share how they are doing.
Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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