Using data to set SMART future goals
It is extremely important for any business to establish and maintain clearly defined goals.
More than that, a company needs to focus on their objectives to achieve them, adapting, if required, to the constantly changing business environment. Executives should always keep in mind these goals and stay accountable to them.
Achieving a goal-based operation is possible with the right process. Goals should be stated at the beginning of any project, so that all stages can be assessed against objectives. Having “SMART goals” is the key for organizations looking to focus on the relevant stuff.
Why Your Company Needs SMART Future Goals
Whatever your position is, from project leader to performance manager, adopting a set of SMART goals will help you in numerous ways to achieve bolder goals. The three main benefits of adopting SMART goals are: increasing focus, increasing productivity, establishing a consensus on desired results, and setting the framework for formulating and executing strategy.
A company without SMART goals is vulnerable to mission drastic changes: when executives lead an operation in various, sometimes conflicting directions, without accomplishing a concrete goal or providing outcomes that can be be easily measurable.
Setting SMART goals is much easier when your company has a foundation of historical data to look into and an access to the study to draw conclusions from. Even smaller companies can benefit from using historical data. The process of developing SMART goals using existing operation data can be carried out by companies of all sizes and structures.
What exactly are SMART goals?
SMART is an acronym featuring the following meaning: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Each component plays an important role. Let’s take a look at the above-mentioned components in more detail.- Specific: Goals should be designed in the most specific way possible. Managers should not only be able to articulate the goal clearly and explicitly - it should be easily measurable. The goal should be easy to understand and not require elaborate context or be bogged down by unnecessary ambiguity. Sometimes, managers want to hedge their bets by qualifying goals or making them hazy. But SMART goals resist this temptation, and opt for measurable goals that can be accounted for simply.
- - Measurable: All goals should be quantified and measurable. This allows staff to track their progress and to fully comprehend expectations. If a goal is set for earnings or revenue, there should be an established time parameter. For example, “our firm needs to generate a 10% boost in revenues within the next 3 years.” This objective is measurable and concrete.
- - Achievable: It’s not enough to be measurable, however. A goal should also be achievable. If a goal is so difficult that it is virtually not achievable, staff will feel demoralized and discouraged. Also, it serves nobody’s interests to set goals that simply cannot be attained. Managers should use goals to focus and encourage, and it means selecting goals that are reasonable.
- - Relevant: It sounds like it should go without saying, but a SMART goal is relevant. This goal should provide value to your organization.
- - Time-bound: goals should be defined by a time based parameter. This allows staff to plan accordingly and makes for easier assessment.
Benefits of SMART Goals
There are several reasons to develop specific and measurable goals. Doing so converts collaboration and working on objectives into a very pleasant, efficient experience. SMART goals help align different teams and departments for common goals, providing increased clarity and productivity. Moreover, goals can be motivational and lead to greater achievements. For example, a revenue goal mixed with training for sales staff can be a successful managerial plan. The trick is to develop tangible, reasonable, and measurable goals. This is the very essence of SMART performance planning.