Managing by objectives is preferable to managing by task in almost all situations. If you tell someone where to step, you have to be with them for every step. If you tell them where and when you want them to end up, you can leave them to find their own way.
Without setting goals or objectives, work becomes a series of chaotic happenings you don’t control. You become the plaything of coincidence. Major accomplishments such as curing the world of a disease or creating a billion dollar business are the culmination of a series of goals. A vision that was charted and realized.
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting brings structure to your goals and objectives. Instead of vague resolutions, S.M.A.R.T. goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards certain objectives, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Every goal, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.
In corporate life, S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is one of the most effective tools for achieving goals. Once you’ve charted to outlines of your project, it’s time to set specific intermediary goals. With the S.M.A.R.T. checklist, you can evaluate your objectives. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting also creates transparency throughout the company. It clarifies the way goals came into existence, and establishes clear success criteria so that no-one is in any doubt as to when the goal has been achieved.
To make a goal S.M.A.R.T., it needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
If goals are vague it is hard to know when you have achieved them. A goal, “make more profit” leaves lots of room for interpretation. The more specific your description, the clearer everyone will be on what exactly you mean. So a better goal would be “Increase profits for the year by 25% by selling more high-margin software products”. It can be helpful to ask: What exactly do I want to achieve, where, how, when and with who? What are the conditions and limitations? Why do I want to reach this goal? What are possible alternative ways of achieving the same?
Measurable goals means that you identify exactly what it is you will see when you reach your goal. It means breaking your goal down into measurable elements. Some goals have multiple elements, such as “sell 200 units next month”. Other goals may have a single event such as “have my manager sign-off my sales plan for Q3”.
Measurable goals go a long way in refining what exactly it is that you want, too. Defining the physical manifestations of your goal or objective makes it clearer, and easier to reach.
Is your goal attainable? That means investigating whether the goal really is possible for you or your team. You must weigh the effort, time and other costs your goal will take against the profits and the other obligations and priorities you have.
If you don’t have access to the time, money or talent to reach a certain goal you’ll certainly fail. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take set stretch goals and make them happen by planning S.M.A.R.T. ly.
In some circumstances it may be valuable to set levels of attainment. If your goal is to have your team deliver twice as many widgets with no extra labor, you might also set an acceptable target as delivering 1.5 times.
Is reaching your goal relevant? Do you actually want to run a multinational? Will reducing your team’s consumption of paper clips help your organization?
In most businesses goals are cascaded down. The Leadership Team set corporate goals for the year. Departments set quarterly goals that will move the business towards the annual corporate goals. Teams set monthly goals to move the department towards the quarterly goals, and individuals set themselves weekly goals to play their part in delivering the team’s monthly goals. Linking goals in this way ensures that they are relevant.
You could set a goal of having a bigger team, but will that actually help to deliver the corporate goals?
Time is money! Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. So install deadlines, for yourself and your team, and go after them. Keep the timeline realistic, and build in milestones, achievements that you can reach along the way that help to track progress and keep morale high.
Hfi’s business coaches can support you and your team in setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and objectives, turning them into measurable goals and following up on their completion. That means training, helping, steering and cheering on the solution of your personal and professional challenges.
Our S.M.A.R.T. goal setting coaching trajectory can be used in all aspects of business, from planning a meeting to setting a corporate strategy. For more email firstname.lastname@example.org