SMART Goals: Your first quarter update

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Mar 16

SMART Goals are foundational for many performance reviews. Yet too many of us, managers included, carefully work through building our SMART Goals, making sure they hit all the criteria, start off working to complete them…and then forget them and work with the latest and the loudest.

That can kill your performance review.

SMART Goals are Relevant — like right now

If your manager tells you that these objectives are THE most important projects to complete for your performance review and you are not working on them 80% of the time right now, are your SMART goals still relevant?

If they are, you need to push back on the other work because your results will still hit you over your pocketbook when it comes to performance review time.

If your objectives are no longer relevant, it is time to talk to your manager to get changes made to your objectives because what was important then will still show up on your performance review — and you won’t have completed the goal or replaced it with a new one.

SMART Goals need modification

You’ve been working for almost a quarter now — can you track your results? Your work, after all, is supposed to be measurable. Especially able to measure your work and not just the team results. Well, how is the measurability of your work to your objectives right now?

If you can’t measure your work — or if you have found a better way to track your work — it is time to talk with your manager about your experience so that you can modify your measurements to match your work.

You need control over your work

If your goals included assumptions about the type and amount of help you need to accomplish them, is that help the right help now that you’ve worked this for almost three months? Or has your team moved on to other things or the other department been reorganized and now longer supply you with help on your work?

Whatever the case, if you are not getting the help you envisioned with your assumptions (you did make written assumptions for the objectives, didn’t you?), then your objectives need changing. Without control over your work, you can’t produce results that will give you your best performance review rating.

Without monitoring, your SMART goals will cost you

There is this disconnect of work to objectives once the “goal creation project” is completed by management at the end of the year for work the following year. “That’s done” is the relief…now on to something else. The next time your manager looks at your objectives is when your performance review comes along and what does your manager see? Goals that are no longer relevant, can’t be measured and not attained.

It doesn’t matter much if your work changed and your goals didn’t — they are the written record and no matter how much you (rightly) protest, those show on your review. And your rating will be lower because of it.

Now is the time to rethink your goals to your work. Now is the time for proactivity with your manager to change what needs changing. Now, before performance review time bites you. No one else will do it; not your manager nor your coworkers. You doing the review and working with your manager, however, puts you in a position of strength.

What objectives of yours need changing right now?