The concept of SMART goals was introduced way back in 1981, a year in which we also saw;
- The first London Marathon
- Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark released in cinema
- Microsoft DOS
- Bucks Fizz win the Eurovision song contest with Making Your Mind Up
Unlike some the above, SMART goals are still here and relevant today.
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals are a concept most learners will have seen or heard about during a training course, whether they apply it or remember it is a different question.
Learners often understand the concept of SMART goals, however, applying them is not as easy. This means the opportunity is often wasted.
So how can SMART goals be used to deliver on our personal targets and successfully contribute towards the business? We’ve broken it down to help you create the ‘perfect’ workplace goal.
Specific: Setting a specific target removes ambiguity and means everyone knows what they want to achieve. For example, “to increase sales by 5%, compared to the previous year, i.e. a million pounds” is more specific than a vague “to increase sales from the previous year.”
Measurable: How will you know if your goal has been reached? Having a measurable target is a great motivator and helps to review progress. For example, “to increase sales by 5% over the year, compared to the previous year.”
Achievable: Setting goals is one thing, making sure you can achieve them is another. Consider the obstacles to overcome and resources available to help achieve your goal, if you don’t believe it is achievable, you are likely to start with a negative mindset.
Realistic: Setting unrealistic targets is a recipe for disaster. It’s important to understand factors that will impact your goal i.e. market conditions or time. Your target should always be stretching and challenging – but not so far that they seem impossible.
Time-bound: Every work goal should be time-bound in some way, simply set the timeline for either for completion or key milestone and work backwards. By measuring time and identifying key milestones, you have a tool to measure you’re on track.
If not SMART, then how about SMARTA?
SMARTA includes a sign-off from management – Agreed. This ensures that the objective meets not only what we (the individual) wants to achieve but also what the company wants to achieve.
Here’s some suggestions to bring SMART goals into your everyday working environment;
- Create a slot in your sales meetings for a training session on SMART goals. Ask each team member to bring a goal with them, so they can work on it at the training session.
- Review SMART goals regularly. Create actions to keep goals on track, then review targets.
- Talk in SMART goal terms when you speak as a team – i.e. what’s your target? What are you looking to achieve? How long will it take? Do you think that’s realistic? What makes you believe it is?
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”