Setting SMART Goals For Your Business
It is human nature to drive growth in our lives, business pursuits, health initiatives, etc. through the use of goals. Goal setting is widely used and is generally considered a great practice. Without goals, progress would be very difficult to gauge and the direction of growth could go askew. Business goals are vital to successful management strategies, but often times, when it comes to actually achieving these goals, we miss the mark and later wonder why. The reason isn’t necessarily because of the work that was done or the steps that were taken to achieve the goal but instead lies with the goal itself and whether or not it was a viable and effective goal to have in the first place. There are many different scenarios of why goals don’t get met: too ambitious, too little time, not pertinent to the overall purpose or strategy, or sometimes we just plain ‘run out of steam’. Regardless of the reason, assessing the goal itself can provide a realistic plan of action for achieving attainable results and we have a surefire way to set SMART goals.
It’s time to get S.M.A.R.T. with goal setting…. So what are S.M.A.R.T. goals exactly? They are: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
Specific – Pin down the specific purpose of your goal. Make it focused and significant. Use who/ what/where/ when/why/which questions to provide a clear direction to establish your goal.
Measurable - You will always want to be able to measure the success and progress of any goal. Use accessible and attainable data to deduce whether or not you are on the right track.
Attainable - Is the objective agreed upon by all involved parties and is that objective realistically achievable? Use outcome metrics from past activities to gauge possibility/ probability of success. Speak to others in your market about their experiences. Look at case studies in your field. Talk to your employees or the folks carrying out the tasks - do they feel it is feasible and are excited to be a part of it?
Relevant - How does this fit into your overall plan? Does it coincide with the business strategy and does it help drive the revenue growth plan? How does it compare to industry standards and current socio-economic trends?
Timely - What’s the deadline? Create a timeline broken down into months/ weeks/ days to track progress. Assess the time constraints of completing the project. Can you realistically accomplish the results you are trying to in the allotted time? Is this the right time/ season to launch or be focusing on this piece? Do you have all your other ducks in a row?
Evaluating goals is a great first step to achieving performance results that may have been eluding you and your business. There are many different KPIs that can form your SMART goals. I have seen them listed as Sensible/Meaningful/ Agreed/ Reasonable/ Time Sensitive, but whatever resonates with you or your management team is what should drive your goal setting. Go with your gut! What is really important is the act of assessing the goals - using a metric of some kind. Put some time and thought into creating your goals and the outcomes should not only be productive but also helpful and rewarding to all those involved.
For more guidance on forming your SMART goals, check out this excellent resource from MindTools.com.