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The Missing Letter in Your SMART Goals

The Missing Letter in Your SMART Goals

    I love the SMART goal setting technique. It really helps me break my goals into smaller and more manageable pieces.

    However, there is one crucial element (or letter) that is missing from this acronym. This missing letter can potentially make it harder for you to reach your goal – no matter how well you have broken down your goal into different pieces and action steps.

    Playing the SMART game

    If you are not familiar with the SMART goal setting technique and what the acronym means, here is a brief rundown with a simple example:

    • S = Specific

    Your goal has to be specific enough (“I want to lose 4 inches off my waist”)

    • M = Measurable

    “My waist line is measured every week, on Saturday mornings after waking up”

    • A = Achievable

    “Do you think that you can do this? Or are you going too far by getting rid of yet another 10 inches? Or should the goal be 5 inches instead, maybe that would be more achievable?”

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    • R = Realistic

    “Is your lifestyle stable enough that you can commit to this goal?  Are you mentally prepared to do this? Do you want to achieve this goal by next week or in six months?”

    • T = Time-framed

    “It’s January 2012 now, so I want to achieve this by July 1st 2012.”

    As you can see, when you break down your goal like this, they become much more manageable and concrete than just saying “I want to to be slimmer”.

    All fine and well, except that there is a crucial letter missing in this package – another letter “A”.

    So, what is this missing letter “A” all about?

    Other letter “A” stands for accountability and this is a great way to make sure that your defined plan is actually executed and it is not left just on the talking or planning level. Even if you crafted a masterful plan by using the SMART goal technique, it becomes useless if you don’t actually execute it. To make sure you start the execution phase, you want to throw some accountability into the mix.

    By having some external pressure on your back (in the form of accountability), you are more likely to take action on your goal steps than if you just kept the plan to yourself. Accountability is based on the fact that you want to stand behind your words and save face. When you announce your goal to the world, you realize that the world is now watching you and you don’t want to let the world down.

    Accountability is also about keeping the expectations of others. If you announce a goal or a task in public, other people are expecting you will achieve the tasks and goals you have laid out for yourself.

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    Different ways to implement the letter “A” in your goal           

    1. Keep it to yourself

    I was a bit hesitant to include this, since in this scenario you are not telling others about your plans or tasks. However, for some people this might work since your conscience is your accountability partner in this situation. And you don’t want to let your conscience down.

    2. Announce it to the people you are dealing with

    Your people could be your colleagues at work, your local golf club buddies, the subscribers and readers of your blog or your Twitter followers. I would say that accountability is more effective when dealing with “offline people”. Being accountable face-to-face to someone is very effective.

    I’m in no way underestimating the power of “online people” either. If you are trying to form solid relationships with others online, you want to keep your word – even if you don’t necessarily meet the people in the same sense as in offline world.

    3. Accountability partner

    A little bit more intimate way of being accountable is to report to your friend or spouse about your doings. When this route is chosen, you might decide to call your partner on a frequent basis how you are doing and how you are progressing on your task that you promised to do.

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    4. Stickk.com

    If none of the above ways work for you it’s time to put Stickk into play.

    Stickk.com is a web site where you can announce your goal (“Commitment Contract”) and to make you even more committed to reaching that goal, there is money on the stake. Money is not mandatory to get set up with Stickk, but knowing that you will lose a certain amount of money if you don’t reach your goal, can give you an extra push to get stuff done.

    5. Mastermind groups

    Mastermind group is a group of like-minded people, gathering on a frequent basis (online or offline) trying to push each other closer to their goals. This type of accountability is very common in business world. When you are in a mastermind group and you have set the objectives you want to achieve by the next meeting, you want to get stuff done and fulfill other’s expectations.

    Mastermind groups are a great way to improve your productivity and reach your goals with the help of others.

    6. Coach

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    If you really want to get personal attention to your goals and a person who will make you to reach your goals (much faster than what you could do by yourself), then hiring a personal coach may be the best way to stay accountable.

    Not only are you accountable to your coach, but you also have to pay for his/her attention. This makes the coach option even more effective. You want to make sure you do everything you can to get the assignments done before the deadline you two have set. So there is a money factor to keep you accountable as well. Since you want to quickly move forward, this option is a very effective for staying accountable with your goals.

    Next time set the goal using “SMARTA” instead

    The next time you are set on reaching a goal, add that letter “A” to the SMART goal setting technique:

    Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed, Accountable.

    The accountability factor of reaching your goals may be just the thing you need to make them a reality.

    (Photo credit: Letters and symbols in fire via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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    Last Updated on June 25, 2019

    How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor

    How to Ace an Interview: 10 Tips from a Professional Career Advisor

    Wondering how to ace an interview? In this article, you will learn everything you need to nail your dream job — from resume submission to the end of the interview cycle.

    In order to land a job interview, you must start with submitting a great resume. Submitting resumes is generally done by, “apply now”, the way many apply for consideration to a job requisition. Even if not applying the tradition way, let’s say, emailing someone in your network about an opportunity- you will still need a great resume.

    So first thing first, work on your resume.

    Today in the United States, 98% of organizations use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to extract information from an applicant’s resume to build a digital applicant profile that can be searched, filtered, and/or ranked.[1] So, a resume that is ATS friendly is part one for landing and acing a job interview.

    To do this, a resume must have certain formatting and keywords to get the resume through the scan and into the hands of a recruiter. Without a resume that works with and for today’s technology and requirements, an interview can be difficult to land.

    Here’s a great DIY Resume Guide (Do it Yourself Resume Guide) to help you craft an ATS and Recruiter friendly resume:[2]

    There used to be a time where a job application was enough, today, an ATS friendly resume leads all methods in landing a job interview.

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    Now, let’s talk about acing that interview.

    A job interview is part 2 of the job application process. An interview is where applicants that have met the minimum requirements are selected to discuss the job opportunity with the employer or hiring manager.

    Interviews are generally conducted via telephone, in person, and or applications/technology such as Skype. When the interview is landed, these 10 tips will help you ace the job interview:

    1. Going for a Job Opportunity That Speaks to Your Passion

    Having a passion for the job/ industry is extremely important. Doing something that aligns with inner passion is important for quality of life.

    People that have passion for the job that they are interviewing for generally have better interview experiences. When we talk about what we love, it is seen in our faces, our body language, and heard in our tone. Here’re 10 Reasons Why Following Your Passion Is More Important Than Money.

    In short, consideration of talents, discovering the things that make you happy and sad, and what you love losing yourself in.

    2. Study the Job Description: Essential Job Functions and Qualification Requirements

    Doing this will allow you the opportunity to develop examples of past and present experience that relate to the essential job functions and required qualifications.

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    Examples of experience is always a plus for interviewers, painting a full picture goes a long way. Even when not asked for an example, it is always a plus to tie answers to interview questions to examples from your experience.

    If there is a portfolio (work samples: images, writing samples, published work, videos, awards, etc.) of work- that’s even better!

    3. Research the Company and the Interviewer(s)

    Being an employee means entering into a relationship with an employer. In many areas of life, research is done prior to committing; researching a company prior to an interview is no different.

    It is important to determine if the company is a good fit and therefore makes it easier to answer “why do you want to work here?” It helps better verbalize how past experience, skills, and values align with the company’s mission, and it shows the interviewer that you are interested in more than just a job.

    4. Think Positive and Tap into Confidence

    Positivity exudes confidence and both are necessary, so the employers knows that trust can be given.

    Thoughts lead to action, therefore, operating from a positive perspective will reveal confidence. The goal of the interview is to land the job offer; employers need to believe that you believe in yourself so that they can believe you. Here are a few tips for positive thinking.

    5. Have Copies of the Resume Used to Apply for the Job

    It’s always good to be ready for extra interviewers in the room; many interviews today are panel interviews/ multi-person interviews.

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    Though a resume was likely submitted with the application, it is always a good idea to come with extra copies in anticipation of the potential need. If there was no resume submission, it is crucial that you provide a copy during the interview; doing this shows the employer preparedness and resolution to challenges.

    6. Plan for Behavior Based Interview Questions

    Most companies use pre-selected questions, often times having a list of behavior-based questions. Usually these questions start with: “provide an example of”, “tell me about a time when”, and/or “describe a time/situation when”.

    Having examples of problems solved and strategies used, initiatives led, contributions to teams and departments, will help ace a job interview. Painting a picture to help employers see skills, qualifications, and experience is extremely important during a job interview.

    7. Make a List of Selling Points

    It’s important to be proactive about the selling points that you want to make in an interview. This is where a portfolio works great! It is a great idea to make a list of selling points that reaffirms and demonstrates skills, qualifications, and experience.

    Consider: awards, programs/ processes launched that led to cost savings and/or profitability, training/education, etc.

    8. Showcase a Mixture of Personality and Professionalism

    Companies like to make sure that interviewees are a good match for the company culture. Having a good balance of personality and professionalism during a job interview is key.

    Personality can be shown when discussing hobbies, community service or extracurricular activities in answers to behavior-based questions, when describing your passion, and when discussing selling points.

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    9. Have Your Questions Ready- Interviewing Isn’t One-Sided

    Interviews are two-sided, like all relationships (an employee and employer agreement is a type of relationship). Before entering in many relationships, we all have a set of questions that we need answers to, prior to making the decision to commit.

    Beyond doing this for self (because asking questions helps reduce doubt and uncertainty), it also shows the employer that there is interest in the company and its future and, shows that you are informed.

    Here are a few considerations: “Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?”, “Why is this position open?”, and “What qualifications/ skills are important to succeed in this role?” You can also take a look at this guide for more idea: 7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

    10. Follow-up with a Thank You Note

    Interviewers love gratitude. Sending a “thank you for taking the time to discuss the job opening with me”, is very important to acing an interview.

    Interviewers discuss one job opening with many applicants. A thank you note can serve as gratitude and the final chance to showcase selling points. This is also the opportunity to address any concerns that the interviewer may have had in the interview.

    Summing It up

    Consider a job interview a house. the foundation for acing a job interview is passion. The frame is a resume that lands the interview. The plumbing and electrical are showing up with confidence, providing a list of selling points, having examples of your experience and qualifications, and engaging the interviewer. The roof is showing gratitude with a thank you note.

    More Tips About Job Interviews

    Featured photo credit: Nik MacMillan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Jobscan: What is an Applicant Tracking System?
    [2] Veronica Castillo: New Job- DIY Resume

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