are your sustainability targets SMART?
Sent Friday, January 22, 2010
Welcome to the Green Guide, the monthly newsletter published by
Greener Museums. I hope you had a happy New Year!
January has been very busy so far, as I prepare to
launch some new programs and products with several new clients. I
always find this an exciting time of year, full of promise.
Are you setting SMART targets?
The month of January is a popular time to set goals. Of course, as
most people know, many of these goals are forgotten by the end of
February. Why does this happen? Well, there are a number of reasons
but certainly one of the main reasons is that people don’t set
goals that are SMART. They set goals that are vague, irrelevant, or
without a deadline. This month’s feature article will help you to
apply the criteria you need to make your targets successful.
To your greener future,
Rachel Madan, Director of Greener Museums
Here’s what’s in this issue:
* Feature Article: Are you setting SMART targets?
* Research Survey: Help Museum Retail Go Green
* About Rachel Madan
Director of Greener Museums
Feature Article: Are Your Sustainability Targets SMART?
How many of these statements have you heard this year? “I want to
lose weight.” “I want to have more fun.” “I want to be happier.”
Now, how many of these goals do you think will be achieved? Not to
be a pessimist, but I don’t think many of those stated goals will
be achieved. The reason is that none of these goals fit the SMART
What does this have to do with sustainability? Well, the same rules
apply when you are setting sustainability targets for your
organization. In order to succeed, you must set targets that are
What are SMART targets? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable,
Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Let’s go through each one.
Specific. “Making our organization more sustainable” is not very
specific. What exactly do you want to DO? Don’t make your goal so
large as to encompass everything. “Getting more sustainable” is
heading in the right direction, but is not specific enough for our
purposes. A good test is to see if someone completely new to the
idea will understand it. Do they understand what you are setting
out to achieve?
Measurable. How will you know when you’ve achieved your target?
Quantitative measures like carbon footprint, tonnage or volume of
waste, or electricity use are always good places to start. But
don’t ignore qualitative measures like visitor or staff
satisfaction, or reputation. You can include these kinds of measures
in your target, too.
Achievable. Think big, but don’t think unrealistically. In target
setting, we are not trying to stretch the boundaries of our
thinking– that’s more for a visioning exercise. So ensure that you
will be able to at least get close to achieving your target. If you
don’t have enough resources to achieve your target you can either
scale back your target or try and get the resources you need.
Relevant. Does your target resonate with your mission
and values? Staff will be motivated to achieve targets when they
can see how they support their work. So make sure that you
link your target to what you are trying to achieve as an
organization. And if you can’t, your target probably isn’t that
relevant to your organization.
Time-Bound. When do you want to achieve your target? This is really
important, as a goal which cannot be measured cannot be achieved.
So make sure you put in a time limitation. It could be six months,
a year, or longer– but there must be a moment in time when you
will check in to see if you did what you set out to do.