Challenging SMART Goals? SMART or HARD
The beginning of the year is a season of performance appraisals. All employees are required to self-evaluate goals reached during the past year, discuss goals and skills and competencies development with the managers. Finally, managers have to set goals for the new year. The managers are advised to set goals, which are SMART. However, there is a minor issue with smart goals. The goals do not have to be challenging enough. They do not have to be challenging for the employees; they do not have to be challenging for the business. Honestly, most of the top business ideas were not born as an objective included in the goal setting sheet. No one has “bring two fantastic ideas, which will change the way we do business by December 31st, 2013” in his or her goals given by the manager.
Leadership IQ published its study about SMART Goals Setting, which covered a significant number of participants (more than 4 000 participants included in the survey) from almost 400 organizations. They wanted to find out how helpful goals and objectives are for employees. The key finding of the study is that just 15% of employees strongly agree that their goals will help them achieve great things.
The SMART goals are usually comfortable. They do not push employees out from their comfort zones. The goals just prolong the trend. Were you expected to deliver a 5% increase in sales volumes? Ok, I expect you to deliver additional 5% this year. Most employees do not feel motivated or excited by such an objective. They just require the higher delivery than last year. That is the end of the story.
The study has findings about goals, which helped employees to achieve extraordinary things:
- I can vividly picture how great I will feel when I achieve my goals.
- I will have to learn new skills to achieve my goals.
- My goals are necessary for my company.
- I actively participated in creating my goals.
- My goals will push me out of my comfort zone.
The challenging and exciting goals are not prolonging the trend. They inspire employees to step out of their comfort zones. They have to go through the entire cycle of accepting the change. They have to feel that they can fail. They have to imagine how the result will help the organization and its clients and customers.
The SMART goal setting methodology does not help to set ambitious objectives for employees. The managers do not use their creativity. They just expect employees to do the same things for another 12 months. They do not expect them to change the organization. The challenging goals change the organization positively for customers and employees.
There are extremely interesting outcomes in the study for the goals, which will help us achieve big things:
- Vivid description which allows to people to feel how great achievement it will be
- The goal has to be bigger than me
The employees like if goals encourage them. They want to stimulate their courage and imagination. The managers should support employees to imagine the better organization, which provides superb services to customers and clients.
Each HR Manager should think about the goal setting procedure in the organization. Human Resources should provide a different point of view to managers. Most managers can set SMART goals to employees, but they do not stimulate creativity of employees. They should imagine themselves receiving the similar copy of goals like last year. Just volumes and cost savings to be achieved are higher.