We ran our first webinar of the year this week ‘Meaningful Conversations; setting objectives’ and would firstly like to thank all those who attended; it proved to be a very popular topic and one which clearly people felt they needed to know more about as they found themselves (or their Line Managers) setting objectives at the start of the year.
We shared our own model for ‘Meaningful Conversations’ which for us underpins all those performance management conversations which should be happening year-round – A clarity of purpose and building trust were key dimensions with this approach.
Then looking at SMART, we examined the origins of this theory, and critically, how SMART only works if the principle findings from the research are applied; co-created objectives, ones that provide stretch and stimulate development, and which are supported with feedback along the way.
A key insight we wished to share was that the Line Manager’s role in all of this, was less about their ability to set objectives, but rather their ability to facilitate their direct report to set those objectives.
In that way, the key skill of the Line Manager became that of questioning; questions which helped the individual shape the objective, challenge it against the SMART template, and finally have the individual commit to the objective by writing it down with clarity.
Towards the end, we took some questions, and it was interesting to note the direction of these – many queried what to do if the organisational goals change? How do you handle this?
We suggested that objectives should always be fluid, subject to review, and such a review taking place at a sensible point in time after it has been set and before it is due to end i.e. If it’s a 12 month goal, then a review 2 months in would be a good intervention point – is it still achievable? Is it still relevant?
The latter question would address any such organisational changes which had occurred and revise the objective accordingly (or scrap it). Better that than a meaningless objective pursued until the end and then disappointedly picked over at the end of year performance appraisal.
Our next ‘Meaningful Conversations’ webinar will look at ‘Giving Feedback’ – if you would like advance notice, just register your interest with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.