I like to think I’m up to speed with all the ‘cool’ management lingo, but sometimes, old school is best. SMART & GROW are some of my favourite mnemonic acronyms. Although primarily a management term, I saw SMART objectives hung on a wall of a local dance school, detailing what the dancers were trying to achieve by the end of the term. Even if the alphabets have been assigned different meanings by different authors, the premise is the same: SMART objectives should be easy to understand, to do, and to confirm they have been done.

Combining SMART objectives with the GROW model can help a business set its goals and work towards achieving these goals.

Applying the SMART acronym can help guide the creation of goals. Goals should be:

  • Specific – a well-defined, unambiguous outcome
  • Measurable – what are the metrics of a successful outcome?
  • Attainable – is the goal is realistic and achievable?
  • Relevant – is the goal relevant to the business?
  • Time-bound – how long will it take to achieve this goal?

The GROW model covers the process of achieving the SMART objectives.

  • Set the Goal. It has to be clearly defined so the client knows when it has been achieved.
  • What is the current Reality?
  • What Obstacles need to be overcome to achieve the Goal? What are the Options identified?
  • Turn the Options into the Way Forward (the action plan).

The most interesting part of the process (for me) is looking at the business in its current Reality, identifying the client’s pain points through an open discussion, and determining what’s held them back so far. Once that’s on the table, the next step is working on a collaborative solution (considering Options) to clear the obstacles and achieve the Goal. When creating the solution, the key points to bear in mind are:

  • the people who will support the achievement of the Goal
  • the people who are affected by the Goal
  • the overall commitment to achieving the Goal.

The beauty of both SMART & GROW is that they can be as simple or complex as you need them to be, and can be applied to myriad situations, such as streamlining a business process, losing weight or learning a new skill.

2 thoughts on “SMART GROWth!

  1. Jenni says:

    Wow, Vanessa! This is such a varied and interesting blog! It had me gripped from beginning to end. It seems as though every topic was of deep interest to me. Hats off to you. I think this is going to help many of us, whether bringing up kids, cooking comfort food for the cold wintry months, or knitting to keep us focused and forget about life’s challenges, although temporarily. Still, at the end of the day, some project has been accomplished. Super work! Way to go, girl!


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