smartiesAs I continue to share information and my perspective on this blog, I am always intrigued by what posts receive the most traffic.

Surprising me the most is the popularity of a post I wrote months ago, SMART.  It is a simple and brief post.

These high analytics forced me to stop and think about why everyone is so interested in how to set objectives.  I had taken goal-setting for granted because I am a natural planner and results-oriented person.  I usually create timelines, deadlines, and metrics – whether it’s a “required” component of a task or not.

So, why can SMART objectives be so helpful?

SMART objectives help manage expectations.  A broad goal about engagement in social media can mean different things to different people.  Someone may expect involvement in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.  Someone else may think that blogging twice a week is sufficient.  SMART objectives are defined in those details.

SMART objectives help track progress.  A broad goal may take lots of time to achieve.  For example, an organization may want to increase the amount of money raised over one year’s time, but what actions are necessary to do so?  SMART objectives identify the smaller steps necessary to get to the larger result.

SMART objectives help facilitate discussion. A broad goal is easy for a group to agree upon.  Organizational plan may be quickly dismissed, assuming that it is already decided.  The strategic planning process requires critical thought and tough conversations.  SMART objectives provide a framework for persons to engage in these important discussions.

SMART objectives help prioritize interests. Broad goals can seem exciting and do-able, but there is no sense of the resources need and the time involved.  Clarification determines what is possible and, then, forces decision-makers to choose what is most important.  SMART objectives connect visions and reality.

How else can SMART objectives be helpful?  Please leave a comment with your idea!

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