Change Agent Tip #6: Create Clear Goals

Jul 23, 2011 5 Comments by

One of the most common mistakes Change Agents make is failing to quantify the goals they hope to achieve. This is a surprisingly easy problem to avoid.

Take time to consider what you plan to accomplish in general – but also invest the necessary effort to clearly document your goals in detailed terms using this 3-step process:

1. Start Simple: Work with the core team and representatives of each impacted business area to brainstorm expectations. It’s okay to start with general descriptions like “improve customer service response time” on the first pass.

2. Get SMART: In subsequent iterations, sharpen each goal by applying these five clarifying rules represented by the classic S.M.A.R.T. acronym:

  • Be Specific: What particular processes will improve? What roles will be impacted? In what ways will things get better?
  • Make them Measurable: How can your change be measured in numeric terms? Suggest goals for improved ratios, costs, counts, production numbers, etc.. A more measurable example of our earlier goal might be “reduce customer wait times to less than 30 seconds.”
  • Be sure they are Attainable: How practical are the goals? Should the team consider breaking a big goal into a series of incremental improvements?
  • Check that they are Realistic: Do the goals still make sense when you consider all aspects of the change and other activities going on concurrent to the change project?
  • Be Timely: When will the results start to materialize? What specific milestones can be expected from the change work?

3. Trust But Verify: Finally, it’s not enough for Change Agents and the core team to agree on the goals of your change. Circle back with sponsors, executives and other critical stakeholders. Adjust expectations as needed and then track your team’s progress.


Question for Chatter:

What other techniques have you used when generating specific goals for a big change?

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5 Responses to “Change Agent Tip #6: Create Clear Goals”

  1. Steve says:

    Great Point Nik,
    If you try to bite off too much, too early in the process, it could set up a negative situation… A short-term goal that is quickly achieved could go a long way toward building momentum.

  2. Nik Lemmens says:

    Hi Steve,

    One of the things I use is to start small, use all the great points you made, but start with something that’s easy and can be done in a day or two. It will not only help everyone to grasp the concept of goals but gives them confidence to set bigger ones.

    It is something I do with my coaching clients.


  3. chihos (@chihos) says:

    Change Agent Tip#6: Create Clear Goals for Your Change: #SAP #ERP #HR #projects

  4. chihos (@chihos) (@chihos) says:

    Fresh post from theBigRocks: Change Agent Tip#6-Create Clear Goals: #baot #pmot #leadchange

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