Writing and training managers in SMART objectives

This is always an interesting topic. the following was recently posted on a community forum:

  • “We are currently reviewing our appraisal process and have realised our line managers need training on how to set clear SMART objectives. Has anyone got any information that they have used to train managers on this area?
    I am looking for something to use that is clear and easy to understand for the managers to be able to go away and set SMART objectives during employee appraisals.
    Any help or information would be great.”

My reply to this was essentially…
Much of the material on the page mentioned above (
www.rapidbi.com/smarter ) has been used at one time or another for training managers..

It all depends what type of objectives you want to train them in – I have found that most trainers think you can train the acronym and that is job done.. well it is not.

Managers need to understand the context and this needs to be a fundamental part of any training or development solution. – for example managers rarely have a problem with the SMART but have problem deriving the context – so I would run different sessions -

  • writing SMARTer learning objectives
  • writing SMARTer performance goals… etc

The managers inability to write effective objectives is usually a symptom of another problem. Why do many of those involved in learning and development insist on training people on techniques when actually the problem is somewhere else – lack of goals, understanding of the process, wrong person without the skills, attitude?

If as professionals L&D and consultants need to get smarter themselves ans stop putting plasters (Band aids) on wounds that actually need a different solution…stitches anyone?


Mike Morrison is director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy. He has been involved in HR, OD and strategic development for over 20 years. He can be contacted via www.rapidbi.com/

© This article is copyright RapidBI 2006, 2008 – it may be copied providing the authors are credited, and direct links maintained

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