Author's note: (I've written this post sometime November 2010 in my other blog. I'm now transferring all my articles here.)
In preparation for his lead trainer interview, a colleague approached me for some tips on S.M.A.R.T. action planning. I told him that SMART goals are a little outdated; use SMART-ASS instead.
S: Specific - You indicate what Key Problem area you want to address
M: Measurable - You give a specific number that will be your measure for success
A: Attainable- Given the current situation and resources, can this plan be actually implemented?
R: Realistic - Can your set goal be achieved? For example, you cannot say that from a score of 50, you can then make it a perfect 100 right after the action plan.
T: Time-bound - When's the deadline? "A goal without a plan is only a wish" -Antoine d' Saint Exupery. A plan without a deadline is wishful thinking.
A: Assessable - Did the action plan meet the target? If yes, what were the critical factors for success? If not, what were the deterents to success? How would you address these deterents? What adjustments do you need in order to make the plan more successful?
S: Spirited - Is the action plan beneficial to everyone? Will all stakeholders work together energetically to achieve the desired results?
S: Sustainable - What control process will you put in place to make sure that this action plan will never be used again for the same situation?
Let me also share an important note: ACTION PLANS ALWAYS HAVE TO BE BACKED-UP BY DATA. You need to have some type of data (a combination of hard/soft data would be best), to back-up why you chose that certain intervention/action plan.
Here's an example.
The team lacks in synergy; therefore affecting teamwork and productivity. Based on FGDs and interviews, 80% of the team members feel that they are not getting the proper support from their manager and each other to do their job correctly. This in turn has resulted to members only submitting 70% of deliverables within the deadline, mostly due to miscommunication between the team members. Moreover, the team lacks accountability, and often does finger-pointing when deadlines are missed; as observed by the manager. (DATA)
The SMART-ASS Action Plan:
In this action plan, an intervention of setting up an "open system" coaching (360-degree coaching/coaching "triads") for the team will be implemented. This will address the communication and accountability issues in the timely delivery of all deliverables (SPECIFIC), and will result to 85% (MEASURABLE and REALISTIC) of deliverables to be delivered on time within 30 days (TIME-BOUND) of project implementation. Since all team members will have a light workload for two days next week, the team manager will facilitate meetings to gain buy-in from all stakeholders(ATTAINABLE) and to educate the team on the benefits of "open system" coaching(SPIRITED). The project will be re-evaluated after 30 days, and all critical factors for success (ASSESSMENT) will be documented, applied, and implemented on all coaching sessions and processes, moving forward (SUSTAINABLE).
Oh yeah, there's also DUMB-ASS (Doable, Understandable, Manageable, Beneficial) as well; just in case you're wondering.