During your appraisal or work performance interview, you may be asked to set some SMART Objectives or goals for your future development within the company or department. Goal setting is of particular importance for a PA and Secretary if you want a promotion to become an Executive PA. When setting goals, it is always advisable to ensure that the goals set are easy to understand and attainable by you. However, the goals should also tax you and ensure that you stretch your current skill base to learn something new.
You may have to set the goals yourself or together with your line manager. If so, I would recommend that you use the SMART process of goal creating. SMART stands for:
Why should I use a SMART objective?
Companies and individuals that follow SMART goals are more likely to succeed. Objectives have well-defined requirements (Specific & Agreed), within an agreed timescale (Time) & completion criteria (Measurable). Companies and individuals also ensure that they do not assign jobs or set goals where there are not enough resources – people & time – to complete the job or goal (Realistic). The end date (Time) for the job or goal can stop people from finishing the task.
When should I use a SMART objectives?
All goals should be SMART. The SMART way of doing things can be used to grow your business, run a project or even to manage your career opportunities.
S is for Specific. Stating what the goal is:
- What exactly is your goal?
- When do you want to achieve your goal?
- Whom do you need to achieve your goal?
- Why do you want to achieve your goal?
- Where does the goal need to take place?
- Which things do you need to have to achieve your goal?
M is for Measurable. Set a way to measure how much of your goal you have completed. So:
- How much progress?
- How many items processed?
- What is the final thing that needs to be done to finish the job?
A is for Achievable/Agreed on. Your goals need to be:
- Known by the people working with you to achieve your goal. You need to tell people what the goal is & when you want it completed.
- Agreed by the people working with you to achieve your goal.
R is for Realistic. Be realistic – if the goal cannot be completed in the time you want or with the money or people you have, change something that will make it achievable.
T is for Time. Make sure that you have allowed enough time to complete the goal, but not so much that people forget to do it.
Example One of a SMART objective
Gin and Bear Ltd sell Apple Gin but want to increase their sales.
A SMART objective might be:
Gin & Bear LTD has agreed with their Oxford sales team to increase the sale of Apple Gin to local pubs in the Oxford area by 5%, in the next 12 months.
- Specific: Increase the sales of Apple Gin by 5%
- Measurable: The increase will be 5% on top of current sales, so will measure against those statistics
- Achievable: The sales team has a clear target that is agreed and is possible.
- Realistic Gin & Bear have looked at the state of the market to ensure that the 5% is achievable
- Time is the 12-month time scale.
Example Two of a SMART objectives
Jenny is the company PA and Secretary of Gin a& Bear Ltd and wants to do more in her current role.
Jenny wants to learn how to use Social Media for her company
- Specific wants to learn how to use Social Media?
Unfortunately for Jenny, this goal is not SMART. There are no measurements in place that will show that Jenny is going to achieve this goal.
However, if the goal was:
During Jenny’s appraisal, it was suggested that she will learn how to use Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Pinterest) to increase the visibility of Gin and Beer Ltd. Jenny will research and embark on training courses in the above social media packages within the next two months. Social Media accounts created and Jenny will actively post and monitor the feedback and accounts details. Jenny will spend 5 hours a week on social media.
- Specific wants to learn how to use Social Media, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Pinterest
- Measurable? Attending the training courses and opening the social media accounts.
- Agreed? Agreed with line manager
- Realistic? Jenny has been given authority to research, attend training sessions and time to manage the social media accounts actively.
- Time? Within the next 12 months.
A Personal Reflection on SMART Objectives
In conclusion, SMART objectives or goals are an ideal way of setting a standard of work for any PA
and Secretary. A well-written goal/objective gives direction, support and assistance in the way it is written. There are no questions or deviations from the goal/objective. I would also suggest that the goal is placed in view always. A good PA and Secretary will have an organised desk or computer system where the goal can be seen daily.
For more information on Appraisals check out
- What are the major concerns during an appraisal
- Preparation for the Appraisal Process
- Performance Review for a PA or Secretary
You may also be interested in:
- Being Proactive for a PA and Secretary
- Your Net Worth? Have you ever considered what you are worth?