An alternative to SMART objectives for behavioural stuff that’s hard to measure

It is a rare performance management training course that doesn’t include the ubiquitous SMART acronym within it – and it is a rare organisation that doesn’t demand its people create a yearly clutch of SMART objectives to meet the needs of their performance management process.

And that’s the problem.

SMART objectives are often written to meet the needs of the process – not the people – they are written to fulfill the requirements of the clever acronym, but not actually to respond to the particular challenges of the individual job holder and their manager.

This is a long-running bugbear of mine, and it was good to hear that one of this podcast’s great supporters and contributors, Garry Platt, had encountered exactly that problem during his consultancy work.

As good as they sometimes are, often it’s just very difficult to write SMART objectives: it’s not only hard to articulate the specific behaviour, it’s next to impossible to create an appropriate measure that doesn’t just tot up something numeric that’s vaguely related (but not very important).

However, we’re made of strong stuff on the Trainer Tools podcast, and just because something is difficult is no reason not to do it! So in this episode Garry talks me through his approach to what he calls behavioural objectives.

Trying to SMARTify your objectives need never ruin your life again!

Garry has also blogged about this on LinkedIn.

 Garry Platt


Garry Platt is an experienced training consultant with more than 30 years experience in the business. He has worked with a number of international organisations helping them to enhance their approach to training and development … read more about Garry here.

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About John Tomlinson
Learning & Development / Change Management / Host of the Trainer Tools podcast

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