SMART Goals and Writing Your Performance Review

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Sep 21

We are at that time, if you receive your performance review at the end of the year, where you will be expected to write your self-review on your performance. Yet looking at your SMART Goals now often reveals problems when it comes to getting your performance review right. It’s time to check out the goals and make the changes you need to get your goals aligned correctly with your performance review.

Are your SMART Goals still relevant to your performance review?

As we go through the business year, what we work on changes. What looked like a grand plan at the beginning of the year becomes the rubble of the recession. Yet, most often our SMART Goals don’t change. Then we get to our performance review time and all that is out there are our original SMART Goals — which we have not worked on in ages.

Before getting to the point of having to write our self-reviews, it is time to rethink the relevancy of our goals and work with our manager to ensure that what goes on the performance review is what we actually worked on during the year. Without getting the goals right, the manager is often limited to rating you on the goals on the review.

Are your SMART Goal measurements ready for your performance review?

Many of us rightfully think we are working our goals and attaining them. But if your goals were set up correctly, you should have clear ways of measuring your goal attainment. Have you measured your attainment lately? Or are you too scared to look at the measurements for what you might see?

When you get to your self-review, measuring your goal attainment is critical. Especially if you knocked the goal out of the park. Especially since most of your teammates won’t include their goal attainment in their own self-review, giving you a competitive edge.

Now is also the time to clarify the goal measures used for you with your manager. If what you thought would measure the goal isn’t the best measure, now is the time to try and change it.

Are your SMART Goals tied to your performance review rankings?

If your performance review format gives you a “1” for doing nothing and a “5” for outstanding, then a “3” is successful. Successful is good, but in the middle of the pack. If you significantly exceeded your goal attainment, does that count as a “4” or a “5”? Unless you have defined how the goal attainment links to your performance review rating, like I show in Killer SMART Goals for the Cubicle Warrior, you leave your rating on the goal up to the whims of your manager.

Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to try and tie some goal attainments to real performance review rankings. If you exceeded your goal by 5%, that deserves to be more than a “3,” it needs to be a “4.” Or however you would rank the goal attainment.

SMART Goals are a big part of your performance review

In most large companies, your goal attainment, using the SMART goal format or not, is the biggest percentage of your performance review rating — and your raise and bonus. Ensuring that these goals are lined up right for your performance review gives you more influence on your final performance review rating.

How is your goal attainment? And are your goals lined up right for your performance review?

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About the Author

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.