Tuesday, July 21, 2015

HR Myths?

A recent article in Talent Management debunked some talent myths. Some myths only had consultants as proponents, with few passionate proponents of those on the front-line of personnel development. One shocker: SMART goal setting doesn't aid behavior change...well, maybe not much of a shocker given the scope of the myth. More later.

One myth related to 360 Feedback is used in lots of organizations. Mostly because we don't think through the rationale of its effectiveness (and lack thereof). The article rightly debunked it, but it's been debunked long ago. The article says, "[they are] unlikely to convert a 'competent jerk' to a 'lovable star'". Exactly so! If you've got a toxic leader, a 360 Feedback mechanism will not remedy the situation.

Regarding using SMART goal setting for behavior change, make sure you understand the SMART criteria for goal writing. Contrary to what the article suggests, one hardly writes a goal regarding behavior change. One writes a goal for the expected results and then works up an implementation plan. The article rightly cites research that says it's the implementation plan more than the goal that changes behavior. This was an easy myth to shoot down, given its poor example of a SMART goal: "To stay calm in anxiety producing situations". Contrary to the author's and editor's opinion, this is not a SMART goal. It's not specific nor measurable, and doesn't have a timeframe or end date. What percentage of the anxiety producing situations does the person want to remain calm? Maybe 50% is an improvement over the usual 10% success rate now. How will the person keep track? What's a definition of anxiety producing situation? (And so on.) By formulating the SMART goal, you develop an idea of how you're going to implement it.

Often the methodology is presumed flawed when it's often the execution of the methodology that's flawed, as in this case of using SMART goal setting in the wrong way.

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