Law Practice Management

Successful Retreats Use SMARTER Objectives

June 16, 2014

If you’re considering planning a retreat for your firm, there are any number of things you need to consider – from the location to the facilitator to your desired outcomes. If you want your retreat to truly make an impact on your firm, begin thinking now about the kinds of objectives you want to set at the retreat. The concept of SMARTER Objectives is set forth in Strategic Planning for Success: Aligning People, Performance and Payoffs, by Roger Kaufman, Hugh Oakley-Brown, Ryan Watkins, and Doug Lee. SMARTER Objectives offer a different perspective from the idea of SMART Goals. SMARTER Objectives call for the objective to be “Audacious,” not merely “Achievable,” as SMART Goals suggest. In addition, SMARTER Objectives must be “Encompassing.” Objectives must encompass results and consequences, not just for individuals, but also for the entire firm and the clients you serve, and all objectives must relate to each other. Finally, SMARTER Objectives must be reviewed and revised frequently.

S = The objective is written for a specific result or area of performance.
M = Each objective must be observable and measurable. The objective must answer these questions: How much? How many? How well?
A = The objective is audacious. It aims at significant change designed to “stretch horizons” and exceed the present level of results.
R = The objective must clearly define the results to be achieved. However, it should not include the methods and means to achieve the results.
T = Each objective must have a targeted time for completion.
E = The “sum total” of all of the objectives are encompassing. They are aligned, supportive of each other, inclusive, and linked.
R = All objectives are reviewed frequently to check for progress toward results.

Put SMARTER Objectives to work for your firm. And be sure to pay particular attention to the last “R.” No objective will be successful and no goal will be reached without regular review to ensure effective implementation.

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