Need A SMARTer Way To Hit Business Goals?
Does goal-setting inspire feelings of dread or ‘why bother’? Discover the simple tool that top-performing companies use (and you can too!) to blitz business goals.
How often do we set New Year’s Resolutions that fizzle out within a few short weeks?
It’s much the same in business. At first, we feel energised by a vision and can’t wait to roll it out. Then things get busy and our enthusiasm wanes. We lose our time in day-to-day operations and forget to focus on Bigger Picture targets.
If this sounds familiar, there’s a simple solution that could totally transform your business: SMART Goal Setting!
What are SMART goals?
You might have come across the SMART framework before in the context of personal goal-setting. Yet SMART goals offer much wider applications. In fact, some of the world’s top performers use this method to hit professional targets!
To set your own SMART goals, simply follow these five steps:
The human brain needs detail and specificity to optimise work performance. For example, let’s say that you want to increase revenue in your business. It might be tempting to write a goal along the lines of, ‘make more money.’
So if you earned an extra dollar next month, would that make you happy? Describe your outcome with real specifics, such as ‘Increase gross profit by 20%’. Your brain will kickstart into goal-smashing, revenue-creaming gears!
This is almost a sub-clause of the above step. By addressing specificity first, you can then ensure that your goal is measurable.
For example, you may have recently identified a need to improve customer service in your business. We know now that ‘improve customer service’ is not specific. But saying ‘improve customer service by 20%’ isn’t a great goal either. While it’s specific, how would you measure your goal to know if you’re on track or not?
It’s up to you to decide how you measure progress on your goal but ideally, it should be with an objective, validated tool; ‘Increase customer satisfaction ratings on post-purchase surveys by 20%’ is a much better example!
If you’re currently turning over 30K each year, it may be desirable but not attainable to bring in 3M by 2017.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying that you can’t ultimately earn 3M, or set whatever target you like. We are saying that it’s best to put a realistic plan in place, no matter what you’re aiming for.
Returning to our previous example, if you were trying to improve customer service by 30%, would you realistically have the means to do so? Or would you need to firstly set some sub-objective goals to create the right conditions for this to happen?
A SMART goal should be a stretch outside of the comfort zone but not unattainable either. That is, challenging but possible!
This step is very closely aligned with the ‘attainable factor’. The two concepts are slightly different though…Think of it this way; even if you could attain certain goals, is it realistic that you should?
For example, you could ask and expect your staff to work hours of overtime to attain a monthly sales target. However, is it realistic that your team would be willing to do so? How would employee morale (and your business) realistically suffer for that?
Make sure that your SMART goals are also rooted in realistic, good ‘ole fashioned common sense!
Humans are creatures of procrastination. (Ever noticed how much TV you suddenly feel like watching when a deadline’s due?) Being proactive is a learned vs. innate trait for most of us!
Therefore, if you don’t bind your goal with a firm ‘achieve by’ date, your natural tendency will be to put it off.
And just think, if your key targets are never achieved, you could be sending thousands down the drain!
On the other hand, having SMART time-bound goals will ensure that you have people queuing at the door to do business with you for many years to come.