Saturday, May 16, 2009

SMART Goal Setting

I talked about creating a vision or mission for your student organization. However, these are long term, in the student organization context it means one year, at least for the coming year la. However, today we will be doing Goal Setting. Which is for the short term, like for the duration to do an activity or project. I am using the SMART model because it's very simple. I hope you read my previous post titled "Why students fail to plan?". If you don't understand the reason why students usually do not do good planning, you are bound to under-appreciate what i am teaching today. SMART is an acronym for:

SPECIFIC

A goal must be specific, duh...That's a given. But students fail to get this first part also. They cannot make a goal specific enough to be usable for them. One of the reasons is because they cannot imagine what would the project or activity would look like or even worse they don't even know what they want the project/activity would look like. I explained this further in this post. To solve this, just redo the activity I taught you in this article, but this time the focus is smaller which is on the project and not vision and missions. Focus on imagining the concepts that you need to plan. If you can't 'see' what you want to do, you cant do proper planning.

MEASURABLE

Things like time, no. of people, and money can be measured. Incorporate this in your goal. Eg. Project XXX will have 200 participants. It's important so that nobody can lie or give excuses to get themselves out of being responsible. You know those people who give excuses like 'assignment, need to study' but actually go dating or spmething. You know la these people.

ACHIEVABLE

This is the part student always get wrong because they always create their goals without thinking properly. Eg. This project must get RM20000000 in donation! Even worse, sometimes these goals are made by their advisors or college pengetua (which they themselves never need to implement), and when the goal is too high, the students say nothing to them. You should benchmark yourselves. It means to compare yourself with others. Other organization, or compare with the previous year's achievement. If previous years, your project has 10 participant even though you targeted 100 people, then don't target 100 again. Lower a bit. A good planning is to focus your resources properly, and to motivate. If your team have seen previous years performance only 10 people, do you think they easily believe they can suddenly can do 100 participant. People always say "Aim for the stars" and all that. But I ask you, is it logic to do the same kind of promotion of your project every year, and suddenly you expect the result be so much better than last year. Unless you have new ideas to improve your promotion, than that's another story. Try to set improvement between 25% to 50% improvement in terms of no. of participants for our project or anything else that is measureable, like amount of donation collected. The reason your goal needs to be achievable is so that you know what to focus on, don't waste your resources and get the best result from what you have.


Realistic

Achievable is about what you want to achieve and what you can achieve. Realistic is about whether you have the resources. If your goal states that you need to get 500 participants for your camp, then you need to ask yourself "Do I have enough people to promote my camp?" If your committee only has 4 people than that is unrealistic and you should change your goal. There is a managerial technique to help answer this question which i will discuss later. But for now, you can always depend on your senior's opinions to help answer these questions.

Timeliness

Your goal must have a deadline. but the problem with students clubs is that is they do not take it seriously. If the situation looks like it, they will just postpone it, just like that. This will effect the team's motivation and synergy. Follow through your planning and implement it well.

A good goal setting should help your club's members to be focus on the most important things, especially students don't have a lot of time to spare. Make sure your goal has all the elements that discussed above. There is a science behind it, read this article to know more. DO not underestimate the models we learn in MGM2111. Lecturer taught us these concepts but do not teach how to apply these concepts in real life. Sigh...even worse, we memorize it, just because we want to get an A. I hope you guys will change you attitude towards planning and appreciate more of it. See you soon.

PS: This article here is another good read about using the SMART model for your goal setting. Or u can just google "SMART goal setting".

Part of the Student Organizational Excellence Series.

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