SMART is an acronym that is often used to gauge, and guide, aspects to business, especially project management. SMART is, in effect, a series of goals placed within a neat arrangement of letters for simplicity of remembering. So, SMART is a mnemonic.
The word ‘Mnemonic’ may be a new word for you. Like in many words of Greek origin, the first letter (‘m’) is silent. Psychometric is another word of Greek origin, so the ‘p’ is also written, but without the familiar plosive (‘p’) sound. So, having got the more awkward pronunciation and writing issues out of the way, let us concentrate on SMART and psychometric assessments.
SMART is short for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based.
As noted above, the ‘S’ in SMART is about being specific. Psychometrics and SMART is therefore about being ever more precise about specific aspects measured about human abilities, traits, capabilities and potential. Modern psychometric assessments cover personality, emotional intelligence, cognitive abilities (including IQ) and the potential that people display or have within them. Potential can be revealed in the areas of leadership, team working and team building. More about that later.
SMART being allied to psychometric assessments also tunes-in well because of the subdivision of results, what are often called psychometric factors, or scales. These give specific details about the person who has taken the assessment. Often the factors, or scales, have other, even more specific subcategories. An example of this is in the Hogan Leadership Forecast Report, part of the Hogan Personality Inventory, which includes results on the Learning Approach of the participant. Learning Approach is one of seven scales. In total, these seven scales are: adjustment, ambition, sociability, interpersonal sensitivity, prudence, inquisitive[ness], and Learning Approach. Learning approach becomes more specific via results for Education, Math[s] Ability, Good Memory and Reading – the subscales.
The ‘M’ in SMART is for measurable. SMART, in psychometrics, is about measurement at a fundamental level, the measurement of the psyche being part of the origin of the word ‘psychometrics’. Producing more objective data about people, especially for recruitment purposes, is a major step forward, rather than just relying on older, more traditional (and less precise) methods, such as interviewing and reviewing CVs.
Interviewing gains a result within a few seconds, according to research, the remainder of the interview consisting of the interviewer seeking conformation in their mind about the initial impression, hence, about their decision. It is prone to a considerable set of biases as a result, ones which are difficult to verify. The interviewee is, likewise, presenting an image and the person who is present at the interview cannot be evaluated easily for how they will perform whist doing the set job.
Looking at CVs is a time-consuming task, especially if the job is attractive and sought after by many people. CVs are like window shopping, the true substance of the person not coming through until much later, when, indeed, it may be too late to make well-informed, more rational decisions.
This leads to Attainable, which is the ‘A’ in SMART, and psychometric assessments assist in people reaching their recognized, attainable targets, and for expanding the horizon of what is attainable for them. Many people are surprised by what emerges from their psychometric analyses, so aligning SMART and psychometric assessment can be an exciting thing to do. It raises the bar to what is considered ‘attainable’, and, like a sport, can be both enjoyable and add a competitive edge (which can also be measured) so they make people adapt to improve their opportunities in life.
Humans love adapting to increase what is attainable, even if what evolves seems strange, even eccentric. To continue the sports analogy, one thinks of the Fosbury Flop, a seemingly bizarre way of trying to jump over a high bar. Dick Fosbury was regarded as an eccentric when he entered the Olympics in 1968, yet he emerged victorious, clutching a well-earned gold medal, and an almost mythical status as the sport took on his new technique. It is now the dominant method of high jumping and it shows, in physical terms, what some thought and invention can achieve.
The Knowledge Society alongside SMART and Psychometric Assessments
Society is changing rapidly and what you know is becoming ever more important, alongside what you can do. Knowledge is taking over as a resource, and the abilities that accompany knowledge can also grow throughout someone’s life. Though this has always been so, the kudos (and, indeed, the necessity of knowing, plus adapting) is getting more and more prevalent in society, especially in the work environment. Simpler tasks are being taken on by increasingly complex machines and robots, with AI and the Internet of Things, etc., gradually taking over in many spheres of work, and, moreover, in everyday domestic life.
SMART and psychometric assessments are therefore relevant to the world today and will become more and more so in the future. Hence, the ‘R’ in SMART is what is being discussed here because psychometric analyses are relevant to the world and we must apply the SMART approach. Relevant also applies to the people who are adapting to understand and hire the relevant people in the new, vastly different working world compared with just a few years ago.
SMART Psychometric Assessments, Communication and Understanding Across Generations
Another aspect to being relevant is understanding what ‘relevant’ means for different generations of people. Maintaining family unity and harmony has always been an issue, some families attaining it, some not. With the rapidly changing world as it is, the prospects for the future without the relevant understanding of generational differences and the requisite adaptations, could lead to bleak outcomes. The SMART psychometric assessment approach could hold some of the keys to keeping society sufficiently aligned and doing the relevant things for progress to be made.
Time-Specific Aspects to being SMART with Psychometric Assessments
The final ‘T’ of SMART is about being Time-specific. The psychometric assessment of cognitive abilities is usually time-specific, meaning that assessments have a specific time allotted to them, or the results are, in some ways, related to how much time is taken to complete them. In this sense, psychometric assessments parallel many aspects to the working world, where tasks are given out and a time frame attached to get the tasks completed.
SMART and Psychometric Assessments to Assist in Team Building
When many psychometric test results are brought together, covering the broad categories mentioned at the beginning of this article, that is, individual results for personality, emotional intelligence, cognitive abilities, and potential, they can formulate what is often termed a 360-degree assessment. The range of abilities will show variances in levels for most people across all the assessments, so there are further opportunities for applying the SMART approach. SMART and psychometric assessments also go hand in hand to produce a range of results for a team. Ideally, the team will be organized with results which make for an optimal approach to project management (for example). Each member of the team will, ideally, come as part of a complement – a complete set of abilities across the range of results produced by the assessments.
Additionally, SMART and the psychometric assessment approach identifies specifics, via measurement, to attain the goals of the team, allied with the relevant areas for improvement. The associated development programs can be time-specific to gauge the progress made, the ideal time-period for reassessment being around nine months. So, not only the team’s performance in job-related tasks can be monitored, but the abilities and overall development of the team’s individual and collective abilities can also be tracked.
As such, SMART and psychometric assessments assist in setting and adapting key performance indicators for individuals and for teams. This should be viewed positively and produce improved results over time. In the hugely competitive marketplace, and with government sectors facing both greater and more varied demands on them, any information gathered can make a vital difference which assists important elements of working life, such as adaptability and sustainability. The results are also in the form of data, so setting targets and reviewing results can have substance and meaning. With professional interpretation of what is produced, the way forward for an organization, including the way for the staff that make up its processes and behavior, can be decided upon. In that way, it is truly a smart approach.