Coming to the end of the first quarter means we should question if our SMART Goals for our performance review we set still make sense. After all, we’ve had a couple of months under the hood of these goals and we should have a good idea if they are still right for us.
The process we use, of course, is the same process we use to build SMART Goals the right way: are the goals still Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound in the right ways? I cover how to set up SMART Goals in How to write your performance review, so I won’t cover it here. I do, however, want to point out three reasons it makes sense to always be ready to adjust your goals with your manager.
Management tells us all the time that our most important work is working on our goals. Yet – perhaps most of the time – we don’t spend our time working on our goals. What happens then is management evaluates us on our goal attainment – when we weren’t spending our time working our goals! The reason to adjust our goals with management is that we need to spend our time aligned with our goals. If the way we are spending our time is more important than our goals, then our goals need to change. If our goals are more important than the way we are spending our time, we need to be changing the way we spend our time.
If you can remember a time when the goals you set in business at the beginning of the year were most applicable at the end of the year, you have a business that is predictable. In today’s recessionary environment, business needs are constantly changing. Your goals need to change with the changing conditions. There is a good reason to change your goals to match conditions – the credit you get for your work on your performance review. Consider one person who is working on goals no longer relevant to the needs of the business and you, the Cubicle Warrior, adjusting your goals with your manager as the year goes on. At the end of the year, who worked on what management thinks is the more important stuff?
Another part of your goals and your performance review is the “weighting” of the goal. Goal one is weighted at 50% of your rating while goal two is weighted at 10%. Getting a below average rating on goal one is devastating to your performance rating no matter how well you did on goal two. Yet, right now goal two is more relevant to the business, warrants the time spent and is far easier to measure. Working with your manager, you should shift the weight of goal two for your performance review so it reflects this change. You can only help your cause to show your work right on your performance review.
Do your goals need adjusting?
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.