Goal setting is such a crucial part of performance management, but often the process behind it gets overlooked. That’s why many organizations have adopted the SMART framework for setting goals. Setting SMART goals follows a specific framework:
What specifically do you want to accomplish? What do you want the business result of achieving your goal to be?
How will you measure whether or not you are successful in achieving your goal?
Actionable, Achievable, and Agreed upon
What steps will you take in order to put achieving your goal into action, and do those actions fall within your realm of responsibilities or will you need support? Is the goal achievable? And have you and your manager agreed that the goal is worth pursuing?
Realistic and Relevant
Is your goal is realistic, practical, and results-oriented? And is it relevant to your skills, qualifications, and your place within the organization?
What is the time allotted to achieving your goal? Is it a monthly, quarterly, or an annual goal?
This is a great way to ensure that you set effective goals that are linked to your role and support your organization in achieving great business outcomes. However, we don’t always have the ability to plan ahead. Sometimes, the pace of work accelerates, more things get added to your plate, and things just need to get done. This is where TRAMS goals come in.
With the TRAMS goal setting framework, these questions are asked in reverse. The first thing employees and managers decide on together is the timeframe and everything is filled in reverse, finishing with the specifics. Makes sense, right?
Every organization is different, so we asked our customers and some in-house experts whether they prefer SMART goals or TRAMS goals, what the advantages of each type are, and some of the challenges as well.
On setting SMART goals
“We use the acronym SMART to help get the goal brainstorming process going. We encourage employees to focus on one or two goals for a 6-12 month period, so it allows them to really focus on developing the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.”
“The biggest challenge we face is having particular measurements for SMART goals. For our retail employees, it's simple to quantify, but it gets more complicated in certain corporate departments.”
On setting TRAMS goals
“Our organization uses the SMART goal setting approach. However, this can be challenging for some to create. An easy fix was to start in reverse by using TRAMS. This has helped employees better manage expectations when writing and setting their goals.”
“TRAMS is a fresh and new way to look at SMART goal setting! TRAMS goal setting ensures goal setters start with the most important part of execution: The timeframe to complete a goal. SMART goal setting has been around for a while and is still extremely effective, but by switching the order, goal setters can now gain a new and fresh perspective on a tried and true approach.”
“When you look at setting goals using a SMART framework, all the pieces of an effective goal are there. But when you look at the actual process of setting a goal, it makes logical sense to start with your timeframe first. That way, you have a better idea of what’s realistic and achievable in that time, and then you can figure out how to measure success and what the specifics are.”
An alternative way to set goals
“We don't use any template, model or framework across the organization, but I am a personal fan of Mark Murphy at LeadershipIQ, who wrote a book called HARD Goals. I've adopted this for my Director practices in my programs. The acronym stands for:
Heartfelt: My goals will enrich the lives of somebody besides me— customers, the community, etc.
Animated: I can vividly picture how great it will feel when I achieve my goals.
Required: My goals are absolutely necessary to help this company.
Difficult: I will have to learn new skills and leave my comfort zone to achieve my assigned goals for this year.”
How do you set your goals?
We’ve seen the advantages of setting goals in a number of different ways. How does your organization set goals? Do you prefer the idea of SMART goals or TRAMS goals? Let us know on Twitter using the links below and we’ll tweet out the results later this week.