SMART stands for; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. SMART is a mnemonic/acronym. It is used to set objectives such as employee performance/ management or personal development. Setting SMART goals means you can clarify ideas, focus efforts, use time and resources productively, and increase chances of success.
Every successful business will be based on a clear set of articulated goals to attain specific objectives. However, many businesses lack this focus and don’t have clear goals. Regardless of whether or business is large or small, your success depends upon your ability to set and achieve goals. SMART goal setting will help you put and actionable plan into place.
The best goals are well-defined and have a clear focus. Having a vague idea of what you would like to achieve such as, “get more business,” is far less meaningful for you and your company than, say, “Increase our client base by 10% this financial year.” By really focusing your goals you create an aim to follow. Your goal will become a magnet, pulling you towards it. This focuses your energy and resources in the right direction.
Goals must have measurable outcomes or they risk becoming like a football game with no one keeping score. There must always be some method of measuring how goals are being approached. This can be with numbers, work-plans, a white board. Whatever works for your business. But make sure you have regular reminders for you and your employees of where you are. Reminders will help to keep you, your team, your employees, on track and focused on the goals you want to attain.
This is where you need to get realistic. Often, small businesses in particular, will set goals beyond their reach. Being ambitious and brave is a great attribute but it has to be grounded in reality. Business plans are often rejected due to over ambitious goals. Keep the ambition, but make sure it is attainable. Do your research and get a handle on realistic growth in your industry. Take one step at a time.
Similarly to ‘attainable’, you must make sure your goals are relevant. Familiarising yourself with the current conditions and realities of your business climate will help you set relevant goals. You can set a goal of increasing sales by 50% but if 3 new competitors have just opened up in your area, then your goal isn’t perhaps relevant to the reality of your market.
Finally, you need to consider your timescale. Consider your own working day, you have a start time, set times for certain types of work, rest, eating and drinking and a time to finish. There are clear timescales, and they help us all know where we should be and what we should be doing. Business goals should always sit within a timeframe. It is essential to have a time frame within the goal-setting process.
Once your goals are SMART, you can start to break down each goal into a specific set of tasks and activities to accomplish them. Periodically review your goals and make adjustments if necessary. Goal setting for your business will put you on the path to success.
Knowing and understanding the style of performance setting and leadership that suits you, your team and your organisation can be a process of trial and error. Having an awareness of how to set goals for high performance can transform your leadership skills, improve communication skills, promote effective team dynamics and achieve high performance.
Engage in Learning’s Leadership Pathway courses introduces learners to styles and approaches to leadership. They will assist with identifying strengths and weaknesses and show how teams can work together to achieve the best outcomes.