13 What SMART really means

Here’s a test. What do the following acronyms stand for? NIMBY, PLU, NOCD. If you know more than one of those, you’re either a cool, calm collected collector of socio-linguistic oddities or a rampaging snob. Perhaps you’re both. Perhaps you are a multi-tasker. Perhaps you simultaneously respect both the Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection legislation. How does that work?

Anyway, there’s one acronym that gets thrown about in business meetings every hour of every day. Just imagine: one phrase being bounced around the walls in thousands and thousands of UK offices every day. In the time it takes you to finish your favourite lunchtime sarnie, one phrase has spilled from approximately 220 pairs of managerial lips from Aberdeen to Truro. A phrase that everyone thinks they know, while getting it just slightly wrong. And that’s SMART.

As you are aware, all targets these days must officially be called SMART. It’s the same as school sports day, where these days every boy and girl is called a Winner – in case they cry and sue the school for child abuse. Targets have feelings too, you know. Let’s call them all SMART.

What SMART doesn’t stand for is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-based, Time-based. Nor does it mean sad muddled anarchist reveres twitter. Is anyone still twittering? My fad spies tell me everyone’s so over twitter.

Get on with it.
Sorry. Of course. What SMART should stand for is: Specific , Measurable, Agreed, Resourced, Time-based. The difference is important.

Too often people eagerly anticipate their personal development review – sometimes called an appraisal by people who believe they were Hanging Judge Jeffries in another life – believing it a proper opportunity to discuss ways of increasing their job satisfaction. Which is what it should be. Which is how it benefits business. By first benefiting the people who are, what’s the phrase again, our greatest resource. But instead of discussing targets that they themselves want to achieve, a high proportion of people report they get lumped with something the boss made up.

Statistics prove (just in case you think I’m inventing all this in a hotel room in Abergavenny) that people with high job satisfaction are more productive. Surprise surprise. And the annual or six-monthly review really is the place where job satisfaction can begin to get engineered for the benefit of all concerned.

Targets aren’t smart unless they’re agreed and properly resourced so that you have a decent chance of making them happen, because you want to. Obvious?

Ok, point taken. And how this relates to comedy is…?
Give me strength.

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Nielsen Dinwoodie
business messages people remember
http://www.dinwoodie.net
NEXT FRIDAY 24 JULY
HOW TO MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF

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