Goal Setting Process
Setting performance goals should be a shared responsibility between manager and employee that builds commitment and ownership. It sets the stage for effective communication expectations that are mutually understood. Performance management starts with clearly defined goals and objectives so consider using the SMART Model as a guide to developing goals.
- Specific – clearly defined
- Quality - how well/what value?
- Quantity – how many/what number or frequency?
- Cost – how much/what amount?
- Attainable – challenging, yet achievable
- Relevant/Realistic – to strategy, the position and the person
- Timely – within set timeframes
To set a specific goal you must answer the six “w” questions.
- Who: Who is involved?
- What: What needs to be accomplished?
- Where: Identify a location.
- When: Establish a time frame, when does the goal need to be accomplished.
- Which/How: Identify requirements and constraints, how will the goal be accomplished?
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose, or benefits of accomplishing the goal, why do we need to do it?
A measureable goal should establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
Attainable - You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals and develop the traits and personality that allow you to achieve them.
A realistic goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. Be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. To decide whether or not your goal is realistic you can determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
A timely goal is a goal that is grounded within a timeframe. With no timeframe tied to it, there is not sense of urgency.
Examples of Goals
Examples of effective goals:
- Develop and implement a student enrollment promotion program for the fall semester that increases enrollment by 2% over the prior year’s 2009 figures.
- Deliver a training course on effective performance appraisals to 80% of new managers within the next year.
Examples of ineffective goals:
- Implement a comprehensive Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) training program.
- Revise the policy and rules handbook for all employees.