Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals, aka S.M.A.R.T. goals, are a productivity tool meant to increase the effectiveness in achieving goals. Whether you are a start-up owner working from a coworking space or an employee at a multinational corporation, the S.M.A.R.T. goal system adapts to individual and team settings and gives you a concrete plan of action to follow. Let us take a closer look at this acronym and see how you can use it to achieve goals more effectively.
Vague goals make it difficult to determine whether they have been achieved or not and how to go about achieving them. An example of a vague goal would be, ‘our company wants to enhance turnover and increase revenue.’ This goal leaves many unanswered questions, such as, when do you want this? How do you plan on doing so? And by how much should turnover increase? A more specific goal would be, ‘Our company will yield a 20% higher turnover in the next year by managing finances and focusing on advertising and sales.’ Specific goals describe certain actions that we can take to achieve the goal. To make your own goals more specific, ensure that they can answer Who? What? Where? When and How? questions on their own.
Ensure that your goal is measurable, as seeing progress gives you further incentive to carry on. To measure progress on the goal of increasing company turnover by 20% you would need to compare monthly and quarterly sales figures from previous years. These figures would show you how you did in the previous year and whether your actions are effectively increasing turnover or not.
Unattainable goals merely serve to demoralise you. If you are a freelancer and your goal is to establish your brand, build a client list and rent a fully furnished office space in one week, then attaining this can be quite difficult. Find the right balance by creating attainable goals that also allow you to ‘raise the bar’ professionally and personally.
The term ‘relevant’ in this context has a two-fold purpose. The first is to put the relevant people in charge to help you achieve the goal. For example, If you ask your finance department to single-handedly increase turnover with no help from increased sales efforts then results are bound to be minimal. The second meaning is to ensure that your goal is relevant to other goals that you are working on. Building and achieving interconnected goals allows you to find focus and steer your company down the right path in the short and long term.
A deadline forces you to organise your tasks by priority and deliver on time. If your goal is to enhance company turnover by 20% over the next year you will need to get more specific and identify a start date and end date for this goal. This could be the fiscal year or from 1st January to 31st December. With a looming deadline, monthly updates and a specific outcome to reach you create a powerful system that gives you an actionable framework to follow and achieve any goal.
Simply following this framework in both your personal and professional life can help you achieve goals much faster and more effectively.
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