Everyone who has succeeded in business, as a third-grader,or as an Olympian, have had to set goals to attain success. These goals serve as a guide that influences every decision. But beyond just setting goals, these successful players in diverse industries set SMART Goals to turn their dreams a reality. Why should you set SMART goals ?
All goals aren’t the same. How you go about your action plans would determine if your goals would be achieved or not. But then, you can increase the possibility of making your dreams come true by setting SMART goals.
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What Are Smart Goals?
SMART goals help structure your goals to make them attainable. They are created in a way that offers a structure with guidelines, and also outline exactly how you should measure and define success. With SMART goals, you will be able to uncover how exactly the success of your projects and required resources should be measured. And also the steps you’d need to take to start out and reach your goals.
SMART goals aren’t just a smart way to reach your goals, SMART is acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These attributes are crucial to turning your goals into reality.
S – Specific
Being specific with what you plan to achieve keeps you away from taking decisions that are not clearly calculated. You will also get confused, distracted, and go off track. For you to be sure that your goals are specific, here are some questions that you should consider:
a. Who do you need?
b. What exactly are you considering achieving?
c. When do you anticipate to accomplish the final outcome?
d. What are the steps you are taking to reach your goals?
e. What are the likely difficulties you will have surmount?
f. Why do you need to take this decision?
g. Why do you need to involve others?
h. Why do you need to make certain decisions?
For instance, Andrew is considering learning email marketing. For him to set a goal that is specific, he’d need to first of all be honest with the reason why he believes he should learn email marketing. He should be specific on what he aims at learning, and what he wants to achieve from acquiring such skills. He’ll thereafter make research about free and paid courses on email marketing, tutors, plan on increasing knowledge, technology and strategies to harness, practices, and so on.
M – Measurable
Your goals should be measurable to help you know when you attain the feat. This also means that you’ll identify which metrics to put to use to keep track of your progress, and be clear on when you were able to achieve your goal.
For instance, a team of marketers that require to increase the quality of leads that are passed to sales should necessarily determine the best metric that would help them take measurement of the quality of their overall leads before the new decisions and after.
A – Achievable
People generally lose motivation when goals that are unachievable are set. Be sure that the goals you have set, whether for yourself or for your business are attainable. You should consider the skills you’ll be needing to reach such goals. Also consider the resources, timeframe, and the tools that are at your disposal.
For instance, when setting a goal around the amount of clients you close every quarter, it is important to keep the tenure of your sales team in mind. Consider also the market conditions, the network quality, and other seasonality that impacts on your business. Ensure to plan goals that make them stretch their abilities but are still realistic.
And if your plan is to go beyond what can be currently achieved, it is necessary to start gradually and push the bigger goals to later quarters, while also helping your team know the support that you will be providing them to boost their strength and ability in attaining such goals.
R – Relevant
Your goals must be worth the efforts that would be committed to it. Do you think you are setting goals that meet your overall personal or business goals? If this goal doesn’t fit your bigger business goal, then you may consider doing a modification or probably just scrap meanwhile.
For instance, if you are considering achieving business goals that focus on improving how profitable a product or service is, then it is irrelevant creating new branches to increase your sales margin. You should rather put your focus on retaining your customers and improving account penetration.
T – Time-bound
Your goal must have a timeline. And the timeline you set must be realistic. Include a date you intend to end. This would stimulate and motivate you and your team members to keep moving and have a focus. You should also assign deadlines when necessary to keep projects on track and avoid a situation of confusion.
For instance, you could get an employee to help you organize and prioritize your emails to avoid the time spent sifting through junk to identify valuable clients’ requests. And if you do not make it clear to your employee that the task should be achieved at 11:00 a.m. on a daily basis, such may just think the task is a one-off that could be done later in the day or some other.
SMART Goals In Practice
Let’s consider applying the SMART goals in some real life situations.
First Situation: You need to improve the kind of relationship that exists between your company and your customers.
Planning: SMART Goal
Specific – Who do you want to be involved in achieving your goal? What will they have to accomplish? When will they conclude the related task? How does this goal align with the overall objectives of the business?
You could consider applying the 5Ws and H of research: What, Why, Who, When, Where, and How.
What: There should be improvement in customer trust and satisfaction.
Why: The company will be able to retain its customers better, and improvement in the trust and satisfaction of customers will assure a growth in long-term customer-relationships.
Who/How: The manager of the customer service will go through customer reviews and their feedback to have a clear path on your areas of strength and weakness. He will be required to work together with the customer service and operations to correct areas of weakness, and also operations and marketing to set expectations that would aid in delivering results that emphasizes more on areas of strength.
When: Goals are projected to be attained at the year end, and its measurement will be done via monthly customer surveys.
Measurable – Improve on the overall score of customer satisfaction; taking from regular surveys of satisfaction, from 70% to 84%.
Achievable – You have been able to put the required people to get tasks done, and if they have been able to achieve 14% in metric, then it is certainly possible to improve to 20% with a much more concentrated effort.
Relevant – You want business to become more profitable, and being able to retain customers will make this a reality.
Time-bound – The goal is projected to be achieved by the year end.
So, your SMART Goal is to achieve growth in your overall customer satisfaction by 20% by the year end.
Second Situation: You spend excessive time on tasks that are not productive.
What: Focus on cutting down time spent on unproductive tasks by eliminating unnecessary engagements and delegating tasks.
Why: To pay more attention to one quality work and returns.
How/Who/When: You will keep track and take record of what you were able to work on, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. You will work along with your personal assistant to pinpoint areas you can delegate to others, and what others you can eliminate. You’ll consider harnessing automation tools when necessary to help you improve productivity schedules.
Measurable – You must be able to take measurement of time gained each week, and record how your time was put to use.
Achievable – Before now, it may have seemed unrealistic to deliberately focus and schedule your day or delegate tasks that you do not really need to be occupied with, considering your team strength. You can actually achieve shaving off up to five unproductive hours.
Relevant – Attaining this feat should you focus better on doing bigger tasks to grow your business.
Time-bound – This goal must be reached at the end of this month.
Your SMART goal is to commit yourself to less than five hours a week on tasks that you can get others to do for you by next month.
Here’s How To Write Smart Goals
Start by ensuring that the goals that you set aligns with the current objectives of your business. Then, move on to work out how you intend to attain the goal. Consider the human and material resources that would be needed before you are able to determine a realistic timeline