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Setting S.M.U.R.T. goals in the workplace

Do you have trouble setting goals in the workplace? Is your boss always on your back about your inability to clearly articulate what you’re doing in a sprint? Try setting S.M.U.R.T. goals!

S: Specific

Be specific about what you’re going to do. Don’t just say “work on security tech;” say “add wireless support to the border alteration menu.” The more specific, the better. One of my favorite employees once presented me with a twenty-page packet explaining one of her goals after a disagreement we’d had. I congratulated her on finally understanding exactly what I’d wanted.

M: Model

Your goals should be perfect, a model for all other goals that come after them. It’s a waste of management’s time to have to workshop them with you. Make sure all of the wrinkles are ironed out before you show your goal to anyone. Even better, write a goal so good that there are never any wrinkles to iron out.

U: Ultra-good

Remember, quality comes above all. Think of something you could definitely achieve, and then go above and beyond that. Don’t just do your best, do better. Making your goals Ultra-good will make your employer more successful.

R: Relevant

Make sure your goal is relevant to what your employer is actually trying to achieve, and not something irrelevant like “improve work-life balance” or “recover from burnout.” A better goal than these would be one that focuses on the best interests of management, not yourself.

T: Timely

Never turn in work after a deadline. Never submit a goal late. Above all, it is important to make sure that you achieve your goals on time. As I always like to say: overtime is paid for a reason, and work-life balance is just a buzzword.

Thank you for reading this post, and I’ll see you next time with more of Alec Roman’s Advanced Recommendations.


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