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My SMART as Hell Journey: Reward

Posted by on March 14th, 2013 with 0 Comments

In 1993, I wrote my first SMART as Hell goal.
Up to that point, I had spent five years working hard, getting great reviews, and producing strong results.

I had not, however, spent any time managing my career.
As a result, I had fallen behind my colleagues in both title and pay.

So, when I took an assignment in Japan, I met with my new manager and together we wrote the following goal:

Train 1 Japanese Engineer to complete 100% of Corrective Maintenance Tasks
and 20% of Corrective Maintenance Tasks, unassisted, by March 31st, 1994.

If I reached my goal, I would receive a promotion to ‘Senior Engineer’.

The goal we wrote was Specific, Measurable, Aggressively Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound – SMART.
I attacked it with vigor. I identified the best candidate and completed his training in less than five months.

When I finished the training, I updated my manager, “Hey, did you notice that Yokota-san is self-sufficient now?” and then grabbed another engineer. I exceeded my goal by training three Japanese engineers that year – and starting on a fourth.

My manager promoted me.
The company gave me a nice raise.
And I was asked to move to Osaka where I would help to ramp up a new office.

That pattern – take an assignment, identify a replacement, train them, replace myself, and take a new assignment – continued from 1994 through 2003. Ten years. Multiple promotions.
I moved from Tachikawa to Osaka to Yokohama to Singapore and back to Yokohama.

I didn’t learn what SMART goals were for a few more years.
But I did learn this: I don’t like being evaluated against criteria I don’t know or understand.
And I was determined from that day on that it would never happen again.

Somehow, during the first five years of my career, there had been a misalignment between me and my managers about what it took to be successful. I’m not talking about a dramatic disconnect because, as I’ve said, I had good reviews. I was a high performer.
But I wasn’t getting the rewards that were available to me because I wasn’t clear enough about what it took to get those rewards.

That was the seed that started my SMART as Hell Journey.

  • From that point on, I continued writing SMART goals and making sure that the expectations between me and my manager were crystal clear.
  • When I became a manager, I asked: How do I get this kind of alignment downward rather than upward?
  • When I entered the learning world, I asked: How do I get this kind of alignment with every learner, and throughout the entire organization?
  • And now, with SMART as Hell, my challenge is: How do I help create the alignment that will change the world – one goal at a time?

That is what SMART as Hell is about .
Whether it’s at home, at work, at school, or in a nonprofit: how do align in such a way that the value you create is acknowledged?

SMART as Hell Exercise

  1. Reflect: Are you being held accountable to criteria that you don’t know or understand?
  2. Reflect: When was the last time you discussed your goals with your primary evaluator? Is it more than one month ago?
  3. Review: Are you clear about your expectations of those that you evaluate?
  4. List: Any areas where misalignment is possible.
  5. Align: and close the gaps.

Share your thoughts, questions, and comments below.

 

 

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