Trainer Tools

An alternative to SMART objectives for behavioural stuff that’s hard to measure

July 25, 2015

It is a rare performance management training course that doesn't include the ubiquitous SMART acronym within it - and it is a rare organisation that doesn't demand its people create a yearly clutch of SMART objectives to meet the needs of their performance management process.

And that's the problem.

SMART objectives are often written to meet the needs of the process - not the people - they are written to fulfill the requirements of the clever acronym, but not actually to respond to the particular challenges of the individual job holder and their manager.

This is a long-running bugbear of mine, and it was good to hear that one of this podcast's great supporters and contributors, Garry Platt, had encountered exactly that problem during his consultancy work.

Garry Platt is an experienced training consultant with more than 30 years experience in the business. He has worked with a number of international organisations helping them to enhance their approach to training and development. Within the last 12 months he has worked with Deutsche Post DHL, Formica, Siemens, Mercedes AMG F1 Team and was the keynote speaker at the SHE Conference in Blackpool.

Academically qualified to Masters Degree level in Education, Training and Development his work combines current research and study in Human Resource Development with a pragmatic and workable approach.

During the last 10 years an area of specialisation has become the evaluation and return on investment analysis of training delivered in organisations. Drawing from the experience of hundreds of companies and organisations he has drawn together a large range of methods and approaches which many organisations have selected from and introduced into their own.

Garry currently works for EEF and can be contacted via his LinkedIn profile or email (

As good as they sometimes are, often it's just very difficult to write SMART objectives: it's not only hard to articulate the specific behaviour, it's next to impossible to create an appropriate measure that doesn't just tot up something numeric that's vaguely related (but not very important).

However, we're made of strong stuff on the Trainer Tools podcast, and just because something is difficult is no reason not to do it! So in this episode Garry talks me through his approach to what he calls behavioural objectives.

Trying to SMARTify your objectives need never ruin your life again!

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