Setting and articulating S.M.A.R.T. goals is an integral part of building and maintaining any business. In fact, business success can be attributed to the ability to set and achieve goals. Further, it’s a helpful way to motivate yourself and your employees to remain strategically aligned with the company’s objectives.
You and your team might be setting goals, but are you setting S.M.A.R.T. goals?
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based and is a great tool for businesses to use to develop an actionable plan.
Read on to learn more about S.M.A.R.T. goals and ways you can use them to maximize your ability to develop attainable goals.
Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
Your goal(s) should be clear, well-defined, and focused. For example, “obtain three new mid-size clients in the Southwest Florida market.” Ensuring that your goals are specific will allow you to hone your efforts and generate more productivity.
When developing your goals, think about the following questions:
- What needs to be accomplished?
- Why is it important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources are involved/needed?
It can also be helpful to start by looking at the big picture, developing a list of more wide-ranging objectives then narrow it down from there until it’s very particular. Further, make sure your team has a thorough understanding of the goal and the steps that need to be taken to reach it.
Measurable (meaningful and motivating)
Measurable goals are imperative during the goal-setting process. You must be able to track the progress and performance of your initiatives so you can determine what’s working and what isn’t. This way, adjustments can be made accordingly to ensure that you’re always thinking and acting strategically. In addition, creating measurable goals helps make the task at hand feel more realistic and feasible.
Tracking progress is also essential so that there is tangible evidence to analyze with your team. The ability to update others on your progress will also aid in making the process more motivating for everyone.
Be sure that a measurable goal addresses the following questions:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will you determine when it’s accomplished?
Goals need to be realistic and attainable in order to be successful. While it’s important to challenge yourself, your team, and the business to grow and learn, you still need to be sure that the goal remains possible. Be sure to consider your resources, time, financial factors, and talent when determining attainable goals and plan accordingly.
Moreover, take time to break down the goal and produce a plan of action. Talk through the specific steps/tactics that need to be taken and deadlines that need to be met to accomplish the goal.
Relevant (reasonable and results-based)
Relevancy is key. This factor helps ensure that the goals you set matter to you, your team, and the business. It also helps to confirm that the goals align strategically with your company’s mission, brand, annual marketing plan, etc. Always take time to consider why you want to achieve this goal and question if the motives behind it are pertinent to your business.
As a guideline, reference the questions below when determining the relevancy of your goals. If you can answer “yes” to these, then you can consider your goal to be relevant.
- Is this worthwhile?
- Does this match our efforts and needs?
- Is the timing right?
- Do we have the resources and talent to accomplish this?
EVERY goal you set needs to have a target date for completion. Without a time frame, there’s no sense of urgency and objectives just don’t get done. Further, setting a deadline creates a timeline for production and helps motivates everyone involved to adhere to that schedule.
Of course, be realistic in setting deadlines and allow for some flexibility as sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. Consider scheduling routine updates – i.e., bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly meetings to discuss progress and next steps. Further, identify key milestones you’d like to hit as a way to keep everything on schedule.
Finally, as a last step, break down each S.M.A.R.T. goal into a specific set of tasks. Assign each task to yourself and your team accordingly and actively review goals and make adjustments if necessary.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is the most efficient and strategic way to achieve your business goals. At Pushing the Envelope, Inc. (PTE), we conduct S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting as a primary tool in developing client marketing plans, etc. and we employ it internally as well.
For more information on how PTE can develop and implement S.M.A.R.T. goals for your business, contact us.