SMART approach helps you to achieve the goal. Let me explain with a story.
Story to explain the SMART approach
A few years back, we visited Darjeeling- a hill station. First, we traveled to New Jalpaiguri by train. After that, we hired a taxi to reach Darjeeling via bus route. Then we moved to Kurseong. We went for sightseeing. Our trip had ended here. So wee had to return to New Jalpaiguri station, where we would catch the train for Asansol. As a result, we had booked a taxi.
We expected that the cab would go via the bus route. But to our surprise, the taxi driver all of a sudden turned to a path that was so steep. We wanted to know from him what way he followed. It was Pankhabari road. The slope of the road was so steep we felt weightless as well as fearful. We then asked the driver why he followed that dangerous route. He replied that as the road was steep, we reach our destination fast.
The driver was very much clear about his goal. So he set his goal to reach NJP fast. But he did not bother to think about the safety of us. In other words, he had set a goal but did not assign a measurable objective of customers’ safety to it. Everyone knows when you don’t give measurable objectives to your broad goal, you can not accomplish it fully.
The goal he defined did not use the SMART approach. So we had to ascend with fear.
If you want to know more about goal setting, you may read my post here.
What is it? What does it mean?
The goal you set must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
When you apply it to the above story, the ideal goal should have been like this.
The broad goal was to travel from Kurseong to New Jalpaiguri well before our train reaches. if you want to create measurable objectives, then you will make them like this.
To start at 2 PM from Kurseong, follow the bus route, and reach New Jalpaiguri station within 2 hours and 50 minutes safely.
Yes, you can measure time in the goal set by the driver. But you can not measure the safety and comfort of us in it. Driving on the bus route would have measured and ensured our safety and our comfort.
As the Pankhabari road was steeper, it would take only 2 hours. But it did not ensure the safety and comfort of us. The journey by bus route would have confirmed safety, comfort, and timely arrival at the station.
The Pankhabari Road was steeper than the bus route. So traveling on it did not ensure the safety and comfort of every team member. The driver did not consult with us. He aimed to reach the station in the shortest possible time to earn more in less time. So he set the goal that would ensure his benefits, not ours. So the goal was not at all relevant to us. It would have become so if we could come by bus route.
Yes, the goal set by the driver ensured to reach too early. But it gave fear to us. So we did not accept it. The bus route would have also ensured the timely achievement of the goal. But it would ensure our safety and comfort.
When you set a goal, then follow the SMART approach and make sure that the plan is mutually agreed upon by all team members. Once you do so, you are sure to reach your goal.