Smart Goals - UNC Charlotte

By Catherine Weaver,2014-12-31 17:31
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HR / Compensation 12/12/2011 Performance Management Guide to Developing Objectives Ongoing Feedback & Coaching Objective Setting (April / May) Interim Review (September) Year-End Review (March) 2 Revised 12/12/2011 S..

    Performance Management

    Guide to Developing Objectives

    Objective Setting (April / May)


    Feedback & Year-End Coaching Review (March)

    Interim Review (September)

    HR / Compensation 12/12/2011

    Setting Smart Goals to Achieve the Right Results

What Is An Objective?

    An Objective is a goal or priority of the organization. Objectives are set by our Management Team, and then communicated throughout the University.

    As objectives cascade from the Chancellor level through the organization, they tend to become less goal-oriented and more task-specific. The key is to maintain the link between individual tasks and one (or more) of the university’s objectives, enabling us to more effectively achieve the right results.

     Benefits of Cascading Objectives

    ; Work efforts are aligned with high-level objectives. At UNC Charlotte, our vision

    statement can assist with defining these objectives.

    ; All employees have visibility of the Chancellors objectives, which helps guide them to

    make more informed day-to-day decisions.

    ; All employees can see how their efforts contribute to overall success.

Smart Goals

    For the purpose of this discussion, we use the term “goal” and the term “objective” interchangeably. Because objectives are a key component of our success, great emphasis is placed on the goal/objective setting process. Using the SMART system for setting goals saves time, provides a

    common language, and helps guide priority setting and decision-making; all of which improve the likelihood of meeting those objectives.

SMART is an acronym for:



    Aligned (to UNC Charlotte goals)

    Realistic (Stretch goals that are achievable & attainable)

    Time-bound & Teamwork

    Let’s take a brief look at each key component and questions to ask to see if a goal meets the SMART criteria.


    Revised 12/12/2011


    ; Does the goal refer to a specific area of performance? ; Is there only one, very clear picture of what success looks like when this goal is met?


    ; Can the goal be objectively measured?

    ; Can the goal be evaluated?

    ; Can the goal be managed?

     Aligned (to UNC Charlotte goals)

    ; Is there a 50 to 66% chance the goal can be achieved?

    ; Is the goal aligned with other university, departmental, team and individual goals?

    ; Does the goal support our competencies and fit our vision and culture?

     Realistic (Stretch goals that are achievable & attainable)

    ; Is the goal important and will it have a positive impact on results? ; Can the goal be achieved given available resources?

    ; Are the competencies required to achieve the goal available?

     Time-bound & Teamwork

    ; By when does the goal need to be achieved?

    ; What are the incremental measurement points?

    ; How does this goal impact other departments and other people?


    Revised 12/12/2011

     Ten Tips for Goal Setting

    To further assist the goal-setting process, below are ten tips to use as guidelines.

1. Write It Down

    A well-written goal can be stated in one brief sentence. Too long a sentence may be an indicator that the goal is too complex or unclear. Have a copy of the goal(s) handy & refer to them every day. The more focus on the goal, the greater the chances of success.

2. Make it Positive

    People tend to respond best to positive motivators. Whenever possible, state goals in terms of the positive. State what is wanted, not what needs to change or stop. For example:

    Negative Positive

    Eliminate wasted time Improve efficiency

    Stop being late for work Arrive on time

3. State the Benefits

    Always include the benefit for achieving the goal. Knowing the benefit helps establish appropriate priorities and maintain focus on achievement during times of challenge.

4. Begin At the End

    Determine what outcome is desired and logically work backward. Planning from finish to start keeps the goal, not the means or method, as the priority when developing the plan.

5. Take Stock of the Current Situation

    Realistically review where people currently stand in relation to achieving the goal. Identify which strengths can be used to achieve the goal. Identify which weaknesses may hinder progress. Determine what additional knowledge is required or if skill gaps exist. Develop a plan to gain the knowledge or experience necessary to achieve the goal.

6. Identify Obstacles and Risks

    Ask, “What could prevent this goal from being achieved?” and find ways to eliminate obstacles and manage risks. Planning a course of action will help prepare to overcome challenges as they arise.

7. Include Personal Accountability

    Goals are more easily achieved when they are separated into manageable segments. As each milestone is reached, progress can be measured and a sense of accomplishment will occur. If a milestone is missed, it’s much easier to make small adjustments along the way rather than big ones at the last minute. Attach consequences to each milestone: a reward (positive consequence) for achievement and a penalty (negative consequence) for coming-up short.