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Getting the Results You Want February 28, 2007

Posted by David Dirks in Bronder On People, Management.
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Get more profit! Being clear in asking your employees to perform specific tasks can lead to higher profits. Here’s how.In large companies there is significant latitude for recovery from things not being done correctly. In a small company the impact of a task not done correctly can have devastating results. A major contributor of things not being done correctly is that the manager is not clear when asking employees to perform tasks. In high performing companies, associates get it right the first time — because the high performing managers set the right expectations. High performing managers use the SMARTER model when giving objectives to their employees.

Specific — they know what they want done and specify the form of the result.

Measurable — they know what an acceptable result looks like and they tell the employee what that measurement is.

Actionable — they know that the employee can take some action to cause the result to happen.

Realistic — they know that the employee has the skill or ability to make the result happen.

Time phased — they let the employee know when it has to be done.

Evaluation — they give the employee access to performance data, the associate does not need to check with the manager to know how they are doing.

Result — they specify a result, not an activity.

Let’s see how an unclear request could impact your business. Jim is a highly motivated employee who always wants to do his best. On Monday, you ask Jim to get a count of the number of pallets loaded from dock #1 each day. You do not hear from Jim for a full week and when you ask him for an update, he tells you he is working on it. A week later Jim delivers a computerized report showing the number of pallets, the content of each pallet, the weight of each pallet and the mean distance traveled by all the pallets. He is proud of his report. Are you? Is this what you wanted? Can you see where this ambiguity in your request can lead to frustration and worse, lost profits?

Using SMARTER, you phrase your request more clearly:
Jim, I need a daily count of the pallets loaded from dock #1 over the next 5 days. I only need the count and it must be 100% accurate. I need your report at 5:00 PM this Friday.

This request will give you the result you want, when you want it. There is no waste, no rework and your business makes more profit.

How are you asking your employees to perform tasks? What results are you getting? Why not experiment with using SMARTER to form your requests?

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