Setting business goals can be difficult. On one hand, you want to set a goal that is going to push you. On the other, you don’t want to be too ambitious and set a goal that will be impossible for you to reach.
If you have ever worked hard and felt like you weren’t getting anywhere, it’s time to look at your goal setting practices. Goals are essential for improving your skills and boosting your confidence when you reach achievements. Both individual and group goals are essential for helping companies grow and constantly strive for more.
So if you want to refocus your energy on improvement and being the best that you can possibly be in your business, goal-setting is a good first step. But you can’t just set any goal. There are some common rules that you should follow when setting business goals to ensure that your goals are focused and designed to facilitate improvement. For this, Organimi recommends the SMART Goals system.
What Does SMART Mean?
SMART is an acronym that is famously used as a guide for goal-setting. It was originally conceptualized in Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives. Since that time, the SMART Goals system has continued to find its footing in academia, business, and personal goal-setting.
The SMART acronym points out several traits that can help you to set effective goals. It stands for:
These five considerations can help you set better business goals both in your own work and in a group setting. For managers, using this as a framework for goal-setting will allow you to ensure that your teams are all working toward goals that will help both them and the company to reach their broader business goals.
How To Apply SMART To Business Goals
Let’s dig deeper into the SMART Goals system and take a closer look at each of the traits in the acronym. It’s not about just knowing the words, it’s about knowing how to apply each of the traits in your own goal-setting process.
Your goal shouldn’t be vague. In fact, you want any goal that you set to be as clear as possible. This helps to ensure that you can focus your efforts on very specific tasks. When you set goals that are too broad, there are too many activities encompassed in the process of trying to reach your goal. It can get confusing and requires that you excel in areas outside of the original intent of the goal.
To make sure that your goal is specific enough, try asking yourself a few questions.
- What do I want to accomplish with this goal? Be specific.
- Why is this goal important? This could be personally, as a group, or as a company.
- Who is involved in the completion of this goal? Is it limited to me or will it involve help from others? Who else will this goal effect?
- Which resources are involved in the completion of this goal? Will I need access to other resources?
These are all great questions to consider to set specific goals when goal-setting.
It’s important that you have goals that can be measured. There has to be a point when a goal is officially marked as “completed.” Without having a firm line in the sand for that moment, it can be easy to waffle on whether or not you have even reached your goal. When you get close, a firm number helps you to stay motivated.
Attach your goal to a number. How many? How much? In sales, perhaps you want to secure ten new clients in a given month. In marketing, maybe you want to launch fifteen new marketing campaigns in a month. By tying your goal to a number, it also makes future goal-setting simple, too, as you can always just increase the number of your last goal to increase the difficulty.
Is your goal realistically achievable? If you set a goal that you are never going to be able to reach, you will only hurt your own confidence in the process. Be realistic when you set goals. It’s good to be ambitious, but within reason. Set goals that are high and hard to achieve, but not impossible.
Use your previous performance as a gauge for your new goal. If, in the past, you had only been able to secure two new clients in a given month, setting a goal of ten new clients might be a bit high. Instead, four or five would be more realistic while still pushing yourself past the level of your previous performances.
Make sure that you are setting goals that actually mean something, either personally or as an organization. Your goal should matter and align with other goals that you have for yourself or your company. Make sure that the short-term goals that you set are always building toward bigger long-term goals. This helps to ensure that you are always moving in the right direction.
Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself while goal-setting to make sure that your goal meets the relevancy requirements in the SMART Goals system.
- Is this goal a worthwhile way to spend my time?
- Is this goal timely? Is this the right time for this goal based on other strategies?
- Does this goal align with current needs?
- Am I the right person to pursue this goal in this context?
Setting relevant goals is absolutely essential for success. If you set goals that aren’t relevant, it won’t do you much good in the long run.
Your goals need to be connected to a certain timeframe. There must be a definitive end date for reaching your goal so that it doesn’t drag on well past its intended start date. When should the goal be completed by? Most people set goals weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The time frame that you set for the goal depends on the size of the goal and other context for the situation.
SMART Goals Point Toward Success
SMART Goals provide an excellent system for setting business goals that not only push us toward results but keep us focused on the most important aspects of our work lives. The more time that you put into setting goals with these traits in mind, the more effective your goals will be. You can set personal, group, or organization goals that follow the SMART goals system to produce better results.