I have used them many times over both in Business and Personal situations AND with great success. However it’s often grabbed my attention when on some occasions that I just could never get the will power to complete certain things and again in both areas of my life. Filing my tax returns can be a difficult one, developing certain workshop material, on one occasion I can’t even begin to tell how long it took me to get 10 slides done, yes only 10 slides.
The question would always eat at me, why I couldn’t do it, why should something so simple be so hard to get done, and after many guilt trips and a few more ones after that, I came to a conclusion! As human beings, even though we know what we should do, knowing is not enough. We know we shouldn’t smoke as it’s fatal to our health, however many people do. We also know that processed food is not good for our health, yet many people eat it. And we know we should put in a good days work, however some days we just don’t.
I have transformed many companies over the years in multiple sectors, I get people to change what they do and do something different so they can get different (& more effective results). However many people don’t like change. They don’t like having to learn a new way and sometimes especially because a ‘smart’ arse like me comes in and says they should. They are just happy doing things the way they’ve always done it so they can always get the same results. In fact, many people resist just for the sake of resisting and they have often admitted after that they did so. So with all that resistance, how do I get them to change?
Through my work and own personal experiences, I discovered what gets things to work and get people to take action (including myself) and that is, give them a reason to do it, the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)! That may sounds like a simple thing to do and yes sometimes it is, however, taking some time to fully understand this is key to ensure success. During some research I I was conducting a number of years ago, I came across this set of SMART Goals and I always use them for both business and personal situations.
So lets break it down.
S = Specific
This is no different than the original, any goal, business or personal needs to be specific and the more specific it is, the better the chance of it succeeding.
M = Motivational
This is where it begins to change! This is the ever burning question WHY!
Why should we do it, or why should they do something different? What’s in it for them (WIIFM). And that is a very fair question? Why should they change what they have done over the last number of years. Yes the business may require change, however why should they change! If you are a Manager / Director of a business, you should know that to achieve success for your business your team needs to be satisfied. This also serves as a great reminder when things are tough (and that will happen from time to time, that’s life) to reflect on why you are doing this, what’s the purpose for you and for a business improvement.
A = Accountable
With anything, it’s very important to have the ability to track something on a periodic basis, why? Well you need to be able to quantify how far you or your project has gone and take note of all the good work that has been achieved to date. Projects and Goals are not always straight forward and it can be very easy to fall into a destructive mind-set when things aren’t going so well. Like anything there will be ups and downs, expect them. However, once you have the ability to track you can always have an appreciation for how far you have come and how your project or change process is performing. Also, when you are falling behind you can escalate the problem quickly and call in whatever resources are required to get your project back on track.
R = Responsible
For me, and in the work I conduct, this is a big one! So many times in business I’ve worked with teams who are never given the responsibility to execute tasks themselves. If you truly want Change to happen in your business, giving people the responsibility to go out and do things is an absolute must. They say money motivates in business, however only to a point. Should you wish to achieve true motivation, it’s important to empower your team and give them the responsibility to take action. Yes they may make mistakes, and that’s fine. The more mistakes they make the better they will become. And when they do, don’t blame them, guide and work with them on how to do it right the next time. So forget the Blame Culture and embrace the Error Culture. When you start leading your team in this manner, performance becomes a tangible output. Helping your team to succeed by giving them more responsibility will in turn improve business performance. More than likely the majority of your team have been with your business / department for a very long time. With that, they have knowledge and experience, so guess what.. ? Use it! So again
Blank the Blame Culture & Embrace the Error Culture
T = Touchable
When working with projects, I have always believed in making deliverables short term and what I mean by that, somewhere in the region of 3 – 6 months. Anything else and you can lose momentum with your team. The whole point is to build a sense of urgency around what you are doing and why. However you can only do this for so long before people tire and the sooner you can have a project completed the more motivation you will get for the next project. Also with Urgency, it can’t be to the stage where it’s overwhelming for people, a balance needs to be found with taking people out of their comfort zone and move them to the stretch zone.
So as you can see, to truly get results with business / project / personal goals, ultimately there needs to be a reason as to why something to be done, both for the business and the people within the business. While the typical SMART Goals make a lot of logical sense, they are left brain orientated and does not always support the underlying reasons. By turning you goals to motivational that are based on positive emotions and understanding what truly makes your team tick, then you will begin to deliver strong performing teams that will be move forward in a sustainable fashion. And not only strong performing teams, you will become a strong performing person!
So what SMART Goals are you going to set?