Making S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goals for Your Organization

On a recent meeting with our C-Level Share Group, we talked about the importance of a goal to motivate a team —- okay, we’ve all heard this before. So we did a Google search and how many hits came up on S.M.A.R.T. Goals. 38, 800, 000 resources are available about this topics. While 8,880 search results are available for Goals.


S.M.A.R.T.E.R GOALS infographic












As much as possible, your Goals should be:

Specific – target a specific area for improvement.

  • What are you trying to do?
  • Where is it going to happen?

Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress, if the goal is not measurable it cannot be possible to track progress.  Usually, but not limited to numbers or percentages.

3 How’s:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know it has been accomplished?

Attainable – goals should be possible to achieve without unrealistic effort.

  • Which goals are the most likely to be achieved?
  • Is there at least a 50% probability of success?

Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.

  • Does your team’s goals align to your key issues?
  • Do your goals make “sense”?
  • Are these goals worth doing?
  • Do they benefit your organization in a significant way?

Timebound – specify when the result(s) can be achieved. Goals need a target date and the team’s commitment to the deadline.

  • Does the deadline allow you to deliver all of the results?
  • What can be done today, in the next few weeks, months?

Evaluate – Constant evaluation of goals are essential in reaching those goals.

  • Be aware of changing factors in plans.

Re-do – After evaluation make sure to re-do goals that need changing

  • Change details necessary to make goals successful.

Source: Meyer, J. Paul, “Attitude Is Everything.” NTEN-The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network


Why are S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goals important for your organization? Setting concrete goals for yourself and your organization make you more likely to attain those the results that the goal promises. Through strategic planning your organization can bring your goals to life.  A large factor in an organization’s lack of execution is in the overall strategy. How can you begin to set goals? Document your strategies over time with a deadline in place. Consistency is key to keep track of success.


Samantha Rijos, Social Media Marketing Coordinator & Jack Mastrianni, Practice Leader, Leadership Development


Taking complexity out of your business and ultimately your life —What do you stop doing?

While browsing through today’s Wall Street Journal health journal section, I can across an interesting, but not surprising statistic. A recent survey found that 56% of the people say they are in more in need of a vacation that in past years. Of all work /life balance issues I have found in my work, one of the most obviously happens unintentionally. When a small team of people working together to produce outstanding results they often come to a breaking point. They can not sustain the current way they operate due to the added complexity of what they are trying to manage. Projects get added and what usually happens? They continue to add “stuff” without taking anything off of the plate. They do not collectively ask themselves, “What can we stop doing?” Individuals heroically try to continue providing value to internal or external customers –often at the expense to their personal well being. A tried solution –- run an exercise with your team on what to stop doing – try it. It will immediately relieve the organizational, team and individual stress levels.

The Myth of Self-motivation

While facilitating a team of executives recently, one of the leaders talked about how the newer and younger employees were not self-motivated. I asked what that meant. “They are not as committed to the organization and what we are trying to do.” When I asked what they were committed to do, it was hard for him to articulate that.
Try this on — look through a different lens. Work hard to find out what your employees are committed to – use that as a starting point. When we work with teams that are struggling, the first question I ask the group is, “Who in here comes to work each day trying to screw up?” After much laughter, I ask if they believed the same of their people. It really is an “ah ha” moment. I encourage you to look through a different lens. As a manager, what types of environment are you creating that allow your team to commit to doing their best each day? It’s amazing how this simple approach can make a difference in organizations.

Has Toyota lost its Strategic Competitive Advantage?

     Talk about a challenge to a brand! Think about it — over the last 90 days, how has the Toyota brand changed in the eyes of consumers? Toyota’s competitive advance in the eyes of the consumer has been its reputation for quality. This is a great lesson on how to never lose focus on how you differentiate yourselves with the consumer. Identifying what makes you unique is an important part of what makes strategic thinking come alive for organizations.

     Toyota’s production system has long been admired by companies for quality. Ryozo Yoshikawa, a professor of manufacturing Management at the University of Tokyo, indicates forgetting about its consumers has led to Toyota’s problems.
The executives in any organization that does not always think strategically and focus on what is best for the consumer, is not going to win long-term in today’s marketplace.

What do you think?

Are Strategic Plans Obsolete?

In this week’s Wall Street Journal Article “Strategic Plans Lose Favor” (January 25, 2010— link below) the questions were surfaced about the value of Strategic Plans. It really brings the conversation front and center.
The world has changed and those companies that have not invested time in building the capability of their organization to think strategically could be in trouble.

A plan that is built and shared at only at the top of the organization will just not work.

The strategic plans that we see working are living documents! They are collectively built, fact-based, externally focused and flexible. They have mechanisms to quickly address and communicate what an organization should start, stop or continue on a regular basis.

Leaders in every function and at all levels are trained to think and act strategically so that the organization is alert every day, week and month to renew their strategy.

All the best, Paul

People Want to Make a Difference

This is the most important lesson leaders must learn in order to be successful. Sure they have to have the technical skills to get the job done, a strong understanding of how the organization works; however, nothing takes place of being able to understand this simple idea!

I had breakfast with an officer of a Fortune 50 company recently. We were having a conversation about the capabilities of some of the executives in their organization. I asked the question, “who on your staff shows up to work each day trying to lose money for the company?” After a broad smile he looked at me and said “nobody.” Our conversation, then focused on why it is important to find out what people are really committed to? One of the most important lessons I learned early in my management career was a person can become compliant and help, but can really carry the organization if they are committed. I realized that “my” success or failure depended on understanding this. Peter Drucker put it more bluntly – writing:Every failure is a failure of a manager.’” I would take it even further and suggest every failure of leader is to not understand what people are really committed to and then leverage that for the good of the individual and the organization.

“Easing the Pain” — Annual Performance Management Conversations

What would you rather do? — visit the dentist or have complete annual; performance reviews. With all apologies to the very noble dental community, a manager we were working with recently eluded to the fact the chair would be a better option for her.
Why are discussions difficult for people? Two reasons usually surface to the top. 1) The Forms. A form-driven process with deadlines for completion and sign-offs gets in the way of the true reason for performance reviews. Change the lens you look through — a form should not get in the way of having a robust discussion about performance and development. It is not about the form! Anyone who uses the form as a driver for a discussion about performance is out-of-touch with their employee. Ongoing discussion around objectives and development should not be a surprise during the annual review. It should be summations of the conversations that have taken place between the manger and the emplyee during the course of the year. 2) A conversation focused solely on performance and not development. We encourage our clients to purposely change the name from Performance Management or Appraisal to Performance Development. We are looking for people in organizations who come to work trying to lose money for the company they work for — and we have yet to find them. We believe everyone has strengths and opportunities for development. It is only by focusing on both that people can contribute and do their best.

Think Performance Contribution and see what happens

Think Performance Contribution and See What Happens

     Leadership comes from anywhere in the organization. Leadership is about looking into the future – creating something that you put in place to enhance people’s contribution. Leadership is about co-creating a future where people are allowed to contribute and make a difference. We were working with a client yesterday and much of our conversation centered on their “Performance Management” process. We talked about how people dreaded the first quarter of the fiscal year – because it was “performance management”
     What would happen if we changed how we framed the conversation during the performance review process? My colleague Dr. Barry Stein of Goodmeasure, often talks about “performance management” as time to speak about “performance contribution.” Think about it, how would leadership in organizations be impacted?

The External Boss

Who is the boss?

It is a beautiful fall morning in Connecticut and I just took my car through the local car wash. It is one of those places where you have an assembly line of workers who vacuum and dry off your car after it has been washed. It is 8:10 and my car is the first one through this morning.
      I walk up as it is being finished and hand my receipt to the crew supervisor. I thank him and tell him the car looks great. He comments on how glad he is to be able to serve me so efficiently this morning. “We are working with a skeleton crew again this morning — yesterday our customers were furious, we had the same number of workers, but unlike this morning, we were very busy. People were waiting over 20 minutes for their cars. I don’t schedule the workers, I just supervise the one’s who are here. The scheduling is done in the front office.”
     As I drove away, it struck me how often we come across this in business. We see someone who is the “face to the customer” working to satisfy their needs without the ability to influence the outcome. Sometimes a “boss” gets in the way. Doesn’t everything from a three- year plan to every customer touch-point make a difference? P&G’s former CEO A.G. Lafley had mantra for that help to crystallize how every should think about the business — The consumer is boss.

Who is your boss? How to relate to internal bosses to serve external ones?

Leadership and Developing Self – The “Outside-In” approach

     Having the opportunity to work in many different organizations provides me with a unique perspective on how people approach their work. I have consistently found that people who have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their life don’t seem to consistently struggle with the whole “work-life balance thing.” A leader in a global organization told me that their employee research has shown that the people who have a real sense of purpose and identity outside of work have fewer issues around work-life “balance.”
     A wonderful book I recently came across is The Power of Helping Others. It is the story of a medical doctor Gary Morsch, who started the organization Heart to Heart. It is a wonderful story about creating meaning and purpose by giving something back. Heart to Heart started as a dream and is now an international charitable organization serving the needy with medical support and care. With volunteers, the work in performed in the poorest countries of the world. Morsch’s need to serve others grew out of the desire to use his talent in a way that makes a difference.
     I know we all will not go out and create a global non-profit. But we don’t need to! We can define our purpose and meaning in different ways. Working with a local charity, using your talents to support a kid’s soccer association, helping out with your local church are just a few examples of creating space outside of work that allows you to be happier inside of work … in essence the Outside-In approach.
     Looking back on my career, I was happiest in my work when I followed this approach. Over the last several years, part of my personal leadership journey has been to create a platform and work in a way that allows me to support my family, give something back to society and help others in need.
     The lesson for leaders –create space for you first, then others will follow. Give yourself permission to work from the outside in. Develop yourself first and you will create space for others to do the same.