Why Set SMART Targets For Energy

Why Set SMART Targets

& How Best To Set Them.

Targets motivate us. They help us track if we are meeting our goals and highlight areas where we need to focus more to achieve success. 

Targets also need to be developed in a manner that allows for changes in the wider environment such as business model changes, growth and new technology improvements. 

They should also be clear so most people can see when they have been met and linked to overall objectives such as reducing costs and improving sustainability.

"Setting a target for energy should be top of the list for any manager"

Here are five key aspects to consider when setting your targets:

1. Specific:
Targets need to be specific.  This means there should be a defined number or metric which is being set to track progress towards achieving it. It should not be loosely defined and it should cover the exact objective set forward in the policy or strategy for energy. 

2. Measurable:
If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.  It's fairly simply management #101, but if you have a target you must be able to measure it. It should also be accurately measured so that error tolerances are as low as economically practical. For energy this is usually very straight forward as most organisations have energy bills and meters to track their usage. 

3. Achievable:
Sometimes targets can be set which are impossible to achieve. For short term targets the projects and initiatives to achieve them should be well mapped out and planned. For longer term targets, it can be assumed new technologies and processes will become available to help make up any identified shortfall within reason.  Resources should also be allocated to enable meeting targets. This can be both budget and people time, as well other supports.

4: Relevant:
All targets should be relevant to the objectives set for an organisation.  Having the wrong target can mean resources and time are wasted achieving something which has no or limited impact on the overall objective. Bad examples include tracking metrics which will be achieved without any changes or initiatives but based on business as usual, or meaningless numbers which have no direct impact on energy use.

5: Time Bound: 
At the end of the day, all targets need to have an end goal. Setting a particular time or date for energy targets to be met ensures objectives are achieved in a timely manner. This is most important for short term goals and to enable an organisation to react to information/data in a timely manner to meet their goals. There is nothing more unmotivational than a target that stretches on into the future with no end goal in sight. 

Don't ignore the ELEPHANT in the room.