Entwining Experiences: Being SMART

[Welcome to the second part of Charles Featherer’s five-part guest series on Entwining Experiences! If you missed the first part, make sure to check it out here. — Bearz]

Charles FeathererEgg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Charles Featherer
Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

In Boy Scouts, some adult leaders take a 6-day training program called Wood Badge. Originally created by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Wood Badge has changed some over the course of its nearly 100-year history. The current version of the course incorporates leadership techniques liberally borrowed from other programs around the world. Why reinvent the wheel?

Today, I want to share with you what it means to have SMART Goals. SMART is, as you’ve likely already guessed, an acronym for a helpful set of guidelines we should all use anytime we set a goal for ourselves or our group.


Let’s look at how this can apply to judging an event:

Adam will be working an SCG Premier IQ with an expected attendance of 250 players. He’s going to be in charge of the paper team and will have at most 4 other Judges helping him at the start of a round. He sets a goal for himself to get match slips out to all the tables in under 5 minutes.

Let’s break down why this is a SMART goal.


This goal has a clear statement of what Adam expects to achieve. It’s stated in a way that’s clear and doesn’t allow for interpretation. When Adam looks back on the day, he can clearly understand whether he met his goal each round. This is an important first step in the design of a goal and often answers questions such as “Who?”, “What?”, and “Why?”


This is the yardstick by which you can measure your success. It does no good to create a goal that doesn’t have a quantifiable aspect to it. In Adam’s case, he’s set a 5 minute time limit – something easily checked against his phone, watch or a round clock if one is in use.


Unfortunately, this is where many goals go awry. Many people set expectations that are too high. This can be a failing point for some Judges, as I imagine more than a few of us are “type-A” personalities.

Let’s make this more concrete by looking at our example. Five minutes sounds like a reasonable goal. If Adam had said two or three, he’d almost certainly be setting himself up for failure.

It’s worth noting that experience carries weight with this aspect of SMART. The more times you’ve done something in the past, the better you can frame a reasonable expectation. When put into new situations, instead of arbitrarily setting a goal you should ask others who have completed the same task in the past about a reasonable expectation.


How is this goal relevant? Relevancy can involve multiple axes: it could be important to the event as a whole, to the Judge making the goal, to the development of other Judges, or more.

In our example, fast completion of this task frees all the Judges involved to do other jobs. Adam has recognized this and is setting a goal that means those assigned to him can be freed to cover the floor or help in other areas of the event.


At first glance you may think this metric is a repeat of “Measurable.” It’s not. Timely, or Time-Bound, is a reminder to check on how your goal is performing in a time sensitive manner. It’s asking the question, “When will I know if I’ve completed my goal successfully?”

In Adam’s case, he would evaluate his goal at the end of the day. He can also take the pulse of his goal halfway through the day to see if adjustments need to be made.

Sharing Goals

There is one aspect of SMART goals that our example hasn’t covered yet. When appropriate to do so, SMART goals must be shared. If Adam sets a goal that relies on work by others, but doesn’t tell the people helping him of his goal, he’s setting himself and the Judges under him up for failure.

In this example, Adam should say something as simple as, “I’ve set a personal goal today to make sure match slips make it out to all players within 5 minutes of the start of each round.” This way, if a Judge finishes dispersing slips faster than the others, they can step in and lend a hand if another Judge seems slower or has been delayed by a player interaction.

Beyond SMART

Setting SMART goals is a great way to improve yourself as a Judge. SMART applies in virtually all aspects of the program, from running an event to working on a project. It can also be employed at work, at home, or with other groups you work with or volunteer for.

I encourage everyone to use this technique. I’m sure you’ll reap dividends, as well as a better understanding of what success looks like to you.

Next time, we’ll look at how we can incorporate SMART Goals into a grand idea that, for the moment, I’m going to just call a “Ticket.” I’m very excited by this concept, and I hope you will be as well.