Understanding SMART Goal Setting
Goal setting is a powerful way of motivating people. The value of goal setting is so well recognized that entire management systems, like Management by Objectives, have goal setting basics incorporated within them.
In fact, goal setting theory is generally accepted as among the most valid and useful motivation theories in industrial and organizational psychology, human resource management, and organizational behavior.
Many of us have learned - from bosses, seminars, and business articles - to set SMART goals. It seems natural to assume that by setting a goal that's Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound, we will be well on our way to accomplishing it.
But is this really the best way of setting goals?
To answer this, we look to Dr Edwin Locke's pioneering research on goal setting and motivation in the late 1960s. In his 1968 article "Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives," he stated that employees were motivated by clear goals and appropriate feedback. Locke went on to say that working toward a goal provided a major source of motivation to actually reach the goal - which, in turn, improved performance.
This information does not seem revolutionary to most of us some 40 years later. This shows the impact his theory has had on professional and personal performance.
In this article, we look at what Locke had to say about goal setting, and how we can apply his theory to our own performance goals.
Goal Setting Theory
Locke's research showed that there was a relationship between how difficult and specific a goal was and people's performance of a task. He found that specific and difficult goals led to better task performance than vague or easy goals.
Telling someone to "Try hard" or "Do your best" is less effective than "Try to get more than 80% correct" or "Concentrate on beating your best time." Likewise, having a goal that's too easy is not a motivating force. Hard... [continues]
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(2008, 12). Locke's Goal Setting Theory. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 12, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Lockes-Goal-Setting-Theory-189062.html
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