SMART Objectives

Once mapping of needs, solutions, and influence has allowed a group to identify an objective, here are some next steps in your action planning.

Make a SMART Objective:

Choosing a smart objective will allow your project to be successful by helping you start with appropriate and effective expectations of your team. While all of us can be ambitious with our goals, being SMART will translate that ambitious idea into reality.

Specific: Be very clear about exactly what your objective is trying to accomplish. Where? When? How much? For what audience? An objective that is good, but not specific would be “To get more people to recycle”. The specific objective might be: “To recycle all of the plastic waste at my school”

Measurable: Make sure you can measure whether or not you have reached your goal. Goals that don’t have a clear moment when you will have succeeded will stretch on forever. These are often good goals, but not great for building teams! An objective that is good, but not measurable would be “To get more people to care about climate change.” The measurable counterpart might be “To get everyone in my school to commit to sign a pledge in support of climate action.”

Achievable: In this case, achievable refers to whether or not your goal is possible to reach given your current point of access and the people you can influence.

Realistic: Realistic refers to whether or not your objective is technically feasible. Do systems exist that could help you reach your objective? If significant R&D is necessary to reach your objective, it might be better to start with something realistic.

Time-bound: Your objective should have a deadline. Of course you’ll have other deadlines throughout your action plan, but your objective itself should be able to be accomplished within some defined amount of time. If you’re on a university campus, this might be a year or four years; if you’re part of a student group, you might need to ensure your goal could be achieved by the end of an academic year.

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