Being SMART About Objectives
When creating a courageous objective it’s important to have a clear vision of what your actual objective is, the goal you have in mind. The SMART method can help you with that.
Probably you’ve heard of this concept – an abbreviation often used by managers when they talk about successful leadership. This method can be useful for our goal here, because after all, we are managers of our own doubts, worries and fear, and we can decide how brave we want to be!
Objectives are often being formulated too vaguely, and that makes it harder to achieve them. Instead, a SMART objective is clear, tangible, and therefore has more chance to succeed.
SMART stands for:
Specific: describe your objective clear and tangible: what exactly do you want to be able to do?
Measurable: when are you satisfied, when did you complete your objective? How do you measure or check whether you reached that point? Try to connect benchmarks or measurement indicators to your objective.
Acceptable or action oriented: the ‘A’ in SMART can be explained as acceptable (does it have support?), but in this courage and resilience learning experience, a different meaning is more applicable: does your objective provoke action?
Realistic: is your objective achievable? Can a plan be carried out, with the time and means you have to your disposal?
Time restricted: when do you want to have your objective achieved? Can you set a start and finish date already?
A few bad examples often show what aren’t SMART objectives:
- I want to become less indecisive. (how do you measure ‘less’?)
- I don’t want to be afraid anymore of taking on new projects. (ok good, but when do you start?)
- I never want to be afraid of speaking my opinion anymore and give presentations without any worries. (this is not realistic – you cannot prevent unpleasant feelings and doubt completely, you can only try to deal with it better).
Compare those with some good examples:
- I want to decide in three months which way I want to take my career.
- On Monday, I want to have a talk with my manager about the project-idea that I have, and the criticism I have on our current strategy. If I am noticing I start doubting and worrying, I want to be able to positively support myself by telling myself “I can do this!”
- In two months, I want to give a presentation at work.
Before defining your own Courage Objective, we want to express that, even though the SMART method is useful as a guideline, it should not become a dogma. Our Hatch-vision on how to deal with courage objectives is whoever wants to explore the unknown, cannot always be specific, and not all courageous acts at work are measurable. And that’s ok. You are your own leader and you are the only person in the world who can feel whether or not you are about to become your bravest and most resilient self at work.
So please be as SMART as possible when setting your courage objectives, but it doesn’t matter if not all letters match the acronym. Over the years we’ve noticed that it is particularly important to add measurable benchmarks to your objectives. We already gave some good and bad examples above. But here is another one to clarify it further: ‘Becoming more self-confident’ can be measured by expressing your opinion at every meeting at least once.