Imagine going for a hike in the forest without a map or GPS. Sure, it’s fun for a while- you feel adventurous and daring- but sooner or later, you will get lost and start to panic.
Now imagine pursuing your career without clearly defined goals. What should your goals be and how do you go about achieving these goals?
In defining what needs to be done, setting SMART goals can be a useful way to ensure that we do not get carried away.
SMART is an acronym that is simple and useful in providing managers a framework for setting goals and objectives.
Use this simple formula to articulate and set your goals:
S stands for Specific. To be specific, the goal should include a description of a precise behaviour or outcome which can be related to a number, rate or percentage. Examples:
“To increase sales by 40% in the next 3 months”
“To generate 400 leads through inbound marketing efforts of digital campaigns”
M stands for Measurable. You would not be able to know whether you have suceeded or failed; if you put a number to your goal, you will know. In order for the goal to be specific, consider the following questions:
How will I know that change has occurred?
What are the tangible measures which will tell me if I have achieved the goal?
A stands for Achievable. Goals set need to be achievable. Setting unachievable goals will lower motivation and result in employees putting little effort or enthusiasm in getting the tasks done. Ask yourself:
Have others done it before?
Have the limiting factors been assessed?
Are the necessary resources available?
R stands for Realistic.
Goals needs to be realistic but does not mean that they should be easy. Realistic goals take into account the available resources such as funds, skills, equipment, etc. Some questions to consider include:
Do the employees have the skills to perform the tasks?
Are the resources required easily available?
Where can we obtain the funds?
T stands for time-bound. A deadline or timeline for when the goal will be accomplished must be set. This will help to facilitate the planning of the process by which the goal will be achieved. Setting a deadline also creates urgency of the tasks and accountability of the employees involved. The best way to have a measurable goal is to give yourself a final deadline, the break down the goal into smaller time-based steps.
We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?
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