Last week I wrote about performance reviews and although I’m still not sure that the majority of performance reviews are all that helpful, especially for assistants. I do think that objective setting is really important. Unfortunately both go hand in hand and the objective setting tends to get forgotten because as is human nature we are much more interested in what others think of our performance and if it will affect our pay.

SMART objectives for assistants are so important because without them we can be at such a disadvantage. We can be taken for granted, we can be mismanaged and we can be left without a clue as to what exactly is expected of us. If our manager’s take little time to help us set good objectives (again this is fairly common) how do they know what to judge us on? We should take a proactive approach with our objectives to ensure that next year we have a series of pointers that will lead us to the best performance review of our careers. I’m going to do this too! Using the standard SMART template here are my 10 objectives for next year. But firstly…

What does SMART mean?

smart

The good thing about following a template for your objectives is that it makes you think about your objectives! Using the SMART template ensures you think about the following aspects of the objective:

Specific: Is the objective clear? Does everyone know exactly what the objective means and what is expected of the assistant?

Measurable: When does the objective need to be achieved and how will the assistant know it has been achieved? How will the completion of the task be judged?

Attainable: Is it achievable and within the capabilities of the assistant? Are there sufficient resources available?

Relevant: Is it a sensible objective within the current business climate? Does it fit into the overall objective of the assistant’s role?

Time based: When is the deadline? Are there review points throughout the course of the objective? Can the objective be achieved straightaway (therefore should it be in the yearly objectives)?

So here are some of my favourite objectives that I have worked on over the years. I’ve added a few dual objectives that I shared with my manager so that we both had something to work on together throughout that year…

Business related objectives

As part of the Executive team develop the 2014/15 marketing strategy for the business. Research all channels to market, competitors, growth areas and social media opportunities. Develop the 2014 content marketing strategy in line with business activities and the 2014 events calendar. The first large commercial event is in July 2014. All marketing strategies to be completed by February 2014 with a lead in time of 4 months per event.

Work with other parts of the business (Marketing, Facilities, IT and HR) to create a more effective and detailed monthly monitoring system for supplier spending. To be completed for Q3.

Skills related objectives

To complete a training course on web analytics and optimisation so that I can report on the data in a useful and meaningful way for the business to improve it’s online marketing and content. To be completed by Q3.

To complete a training course on assertiveness so that I can learn to push back on administrative work from my departmental colleagues and focus on project work for the department Director coming up in Q3. To be completed by Q2.

Task related objectives

Creating and maintaining a structured and comprehensive database for clients. Create a methodology so that other’s understand how to use the database. 100% of current clients to be added to the database by end of Q1. The methodology and any training for staff to be completed by Q2. Maintaining the database and adding new clients throughout.

Get to grips with my manager’s diary for this year. Arrange 1-2-1 meetings with him once a week (either on the phone or face to face) so that we can plan all of his travel arrangements as far in advance as possible. If he knows about travel later in the year this will be added to the diary so that flights and accommodation can be booked. A database to be created and maintained so that travel costs are collected and reported monthly.

Personal objectives

To continue Spanish lessons throughout 2014 with the aim of being confident to take and make business calls in Spanish by Q3 2014.

As a last point do remember that you have your day to day tasks to complete along with your more challenging objectives. These should be detailed in your job description, which to be honest, is a whole other subject!

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