The SMEAC system

The SMEAC system is yet another acronym borrowed from our mighty Military [they do a pretty good job, so we may as well learn something from them!] and is short for:

S Situation

M Mission

E Execution

A Administration and Logistics

C Command and communications

The Military use the SMEAC system to document their orders and instructions for field operations, so that they can pass this information on to their troops.

While you probably don’t have a personal army at your disposal, there are times I’m sure when you need to give a colleague or even a family member or friend instructions or directions for a task or project – and this system is ideal!

Situation This is the background to your problem, or a description of what has happened. What were the events leading up to where you are now?

Again, consider the 5WH of the situation. What has happened? Why is it a problem? Who else is involved? When did it happen/ sequence of events? Where did ti happen? How did it happen?

The point of this part of the process is to provide a snapshot or background to the following set of instructions.

Mission So now we know what has happened, the mission is what we need to do about it. The mission should be a short, clear and concise statement of what you want to achieve – “Our mission is to organise the Christmas Party”.

At this stage, there’s no need to include any detail – because that’s what the EA&C is for.

Execution Execution is the “how” part of the plan – how you are going to achieve your mission.

Detail the steps required, and again 5WH applies.

What are you going to do? Why? When? Where? Who is involved? How?

The execution part of the process is usually the longest and should provide sufficient information to allow you [or your team] to go and do the job.

Administration The military term is actually “Administration and Logistics” and is about what resources you need to do the job, and how these resources are to be coordinated.

Command and Communications This is the who’s who of the job – who’s in charge, who do you report to, and how you communicate with each other.

There is a template for the SMEAC system of documenting instructions in the ToolBOX, under the section on “Life Tools”. Give it a go next time you need to brief a team member – you’ll be surprised how useful the format actually is!

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