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Getting SMART About Goal-setting

By January 7, 2017November 28th, 2018Best Practices

Getting SmartSmart companies know the value of goal setting in setting their business up for success. Yet, according to the 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey, 80 percent of small business owners don’t keep track of their goals.

With your long-term objectives in mind, you need to develop “SMART” goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. The acronym has several slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition of goal setting:

S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

American philosopher and writer Elbert Hubbard once said, “Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.” Gather your stakeholders (executives, staff members, maybe even customers) and, together, determine your goals for 2017, remembering that they need to be SMART. Here are some considerations when setting goals:

Specific – Exactly what is it you want to achieve in your business (or personal life)? A good goal statement explains the what, why, who, where and when of a goal. If your goal statement is vague, you will find it hard to achieve because it will be difficult to define success.

Measurable – You must be able to track progress and measure the result of your goal. A good goal statement answers the question, how much or how many. How will I know when I have achieved my goal?

Achievable – Your goal must be relevant to your stakeholders and agreed with them. Examples of people to agree your goal with are your managers, employees and customers. People will support what they have a hand in creating.

Relevant – Your goal should be stretching, but realistic and relevant to you and your company. Make sure the actions you need to take to achieve your goal are things within your control.

Time-bound – Goals must have a deadline. A good goal statement will answer the question, when will I achieve my goal? Without time limits, it’s easy to put goals off and leave them to die. As well as a deadline, it’s a good idea to set some short-term milestones along the way to help you measure progress.

And, one more tip – write (or type) your goals down. Documenting your goals will help keep you and the organization accountable. An unwritten goal is really just a wish. Click here to view a sample goal-setting sheet on the MarathonHR website.

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