Whether you’re setting a short-term project goal at work or your own personal New Year’s resolutions, the S.M.A.R.T. method of goal setting can help you stay on track and give you a better chance at achieving success.
Are you setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals? Here is a quick review of the five S.M.A.R.T. steps for goal-setting success.
Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve?
Don’t generalize your goals by simply saying, for example, “increase sales.” Use specific language to clearly define your goal and the results you expect to achieve.
Example: Increase sales by at least 20% over the current baseline in the Seattle market by Dec. 31.
Measurable: How will you know if you’re on track to achieve your goal?
The best way to reach a big goal is to set a series of smaller goals along the way. Set overall parameters for success and include checkpoints that allow you to measure your progress and adjust strategies if necessary.
Example: In order to reach our overall goal of 20%, an increase over the baseline of at least 5% each quarter is necessary during the year ending Dec. 31.
Attainable: Is your goal realistic?
While your goal should push you to the limit—it still must be realistic. Research is an often over-looked, but necessary part of setting effective goals. So, be sure your goal is in line with current trends.
Example: Based on the previous year’s sales numbers, an increase of at least 20% is achievable in the Seattle market.
Relevant: Why is this goal important?
Your goal should be meaningful. If it doesn’t align with overall company strategies, your time would be better spent on a different goal.
Example: A focus in the Seattle market is important because data shows a wealth of untapped resources and opportunities to expand.
Time-bound: Where is the finish line?
Establishing an end point doesn’t just indicate when you’ve reached your goal, it also gives you a target to work toward. Just like running a marathon—there’s no sweeter moment than finally getting to cross the finish line and revel in success.
Example: Starting in the first quarter, Jan. 1, this goal will be achieved by Dec. 31.
How has the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting method helped your team, department, or company set more effective goals? What other goal-setting tools have you found to be helpful? Let us know in the comments section below?