How SMART are your goals right now?

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jun 14

Psst…the end of June — one half of the year — is sneaking up on you. When is the last time you went into your desk drawer or headed over to your Excel spreadsheet and checked out your goals? You remember your goals, right? The ones you and your manager agreed were the most important work you could be doing in your job at the beginning of the year?

How’s that goal thing working out for you right now?

SMART goals, the business goals constructed well, still apply here. SMART goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Yet, after six months, what was specific is now sporadic. What was measurable now measures something you got done working on three months ago. What was attainable is now looking dicey. Relevancy? Now all you work on is the emergency du joir. And time is something flying by.

Plus, you made some assumptions about the goal attainment, too, didn’t you? How you were going to get help from this other department and your co-workers were going to supply critical reports so you could do the work. Well, you kept pushing, but nothing happened and after a while you just gave up. Easier to work on the emergency du joir — at least you feel like you accomplished something.

After a while, you really don’t want to think about your goals. They are not inspiring anymore, your manager doesn’t mention them and all that help you were supposed to get never happened. So you leave the goals stuffed in your desk drawer and ignore that file name when you open up Excel. Besides, it is easier to work on your manager’s emergency du joir. Your boss is giving you the emergency du joir, so you have to have some value for the work you do, right?

Don’t make the big mistake

Just because your goals are stuffed in your desk drawer doesn’t mean their importance went along with it. Come performance review time, managers might be grateful for supporting their inability to manage with your fixes on each emergency du joir, but they never assigned performance review criteria to them. No, your manager assigned and you agreed with the SMART goals you set up at the beginning of the year.

You know, the ones still in your desk drawer.

Even if you think they no longer matter, they do. So dig them out of your desk drawer and ask yourself if each goal is still correct in the assumptions and still meet the SMART goal criteria. When they don’t — and they won’t — you need to construct something that makes sense for what you are working on now,  six months into the year. Then you need to set up a meeting with your manager and go over your goals.

If you don’t, your goals, as they stand right now, will be in your performance review and you will be evaluated on your goal attainment.

It is about the results you create from your work

Now you might get twenty different reactions to talking about your goals now with your manager. Your manager may react by working through what makes sense now. Or your manager might blow the whole thing off, so you at least have a data point when you escalate your performance review rating.

When you work for you, you need to ensure you provide great value to the company employing you. Not because the company needs it, but because you want to have great results to put on your resume when you look for your next job, either in the company or with a different one. Staying aligned with, and working on, your business goals reflect the highest value work you can do for a company. Keeping your work goals top-of-mind will help you produce results.

How good are your goals right now?

Photo by Numinosity (Gary J Wood)

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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.