You should ensure that you set clear smart objectives with the people who use your services. This involves ensuring that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
As a start ensure or agree to set simple clear tasks as part of being specific. These tasks should be sensible and might involve identifying who is involved, location, resources, importance and what really needs to be achieved? This will be a good foundation and a reference point as you collaborate with the people who use your services.
Once the tasks are clear and you know what you want to achieve you should work on ways to measure your successes. This might involve looking at signs of achievement and accomplishment. The tasks should be meaningful to the people who use your service. Being measurable helps with assessing progress, motivating, focusing and sense of achievement especially when deadlines have been met.
It is important for tasks to be achievable. There’s no point setting up objectives, which will never be met or are beyond the reach of the people who use your service. It should be clear how the goals should be met. They should also be realistic and consider other factors such as opportunities, costs and resources.
You also need to ensure that the tasks are relevant. This involves checking their value to the people using your services. There is no point trying to get someone to carry out a task, which has no significance to their life. Questions that might come to mind include if it is the right time, is it worthwhile, how does this relate to other goals or activities and usefulness?
The notion of time should always be considered. There should always be a target date. This helps with focusing by having a deadline. This will assist with ensuring none of your tasks are overlooked if there is a time attached to them. People who use your services will ensure they are reasonable and realistic.
As discussed above SMART objectives are important to our work and the support we provide to others. They are a good way of monitoring and reviewing progress. They can also encourage partnership working and help with focusing. Remember to be flexible and monitor long terms objectives to ensure they remain fit for purpose.
Other things to consider are costs and resources required to make sure that the task will be achievable. It will also be a good idea to think of situations where you might need to evaluate and review the task and play.
You can also consider Locke and Latham’s Five Principles theory to assist you with goal setting. The first principle requires you to clarify the tasks. This involves setting clear goals and examining feelings and challenges it poses. It should be motivational and challenging enough. If this is not the case it might be worthwhile clarifying or changing the goal entirely.
The second principle is challenging. You should set goals that are challenging and motivating. Be careful of setting goes that are easy to achieve or too difficult. A balance has to be struck, as the goal needs to spark interest. The goal might require some research to make sure that it is achievable and realistic.
The third principle is commitment. This can be achieved by ensuring that people who use your services are fully involved when setting up goals. This will help with fully understanding the tasks, what is required and assists with taking ownership and responsibility. Trust is also an important factor here, as you have to be credible, work inline with your organisational procedures, relevant regulations and legislations. You will need to be consistent for the people using your services to be committed.
The forth principle is feedback. You should be regularly getting feedback from the people using your services. This will be an opportunity to assist you to find out what is going well and not so well. It will help you to find out challenges and reflect on progress. Feedback will also be an opportunity to clarify any expectations and revise goals when required.
The firth and last principle is task complexity. The task should not be too complex as this has the danger of being overwhelming and stressful. There should be plenty of time to achieve goals. Complex goals might require being broken down to smaller tasks in order to be manageable.