What Are SMART Goals?
Every organization has its own goal-setting process, which plays a crucial role in performance management and achieving the overall objectives of the organization. Initially, we have to define what needs to be achieved and stay committed to it.
Here comes the concept of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) that guide a person to set tangible goals.
SMART goals assist employees to focus on their efforts and increase the chance of achieving the goals.
SMART goals are:
Specific – Clear, well-defined, and precise
Measurable – goals must be measurable with specific criteria to track the progress
Attainable – Set achievable and realistic goals
Relevant – reachable and relevant to the employee’s skill and ability
Timely – goals must have a clear timeline with start and end dates.
Objective and Key Results (OKR) are the best tools for setting goals and act as a complete framework in goal management for the company leaders to rely on. It allows teams and individuals to create and align with the overall company objective.
Why Set Goals for Work?
Professional goals give a sense of guidance, help you to plan the course of action, and achieve them within the time limit. It benefits both the employer and employee as a whole. Let’s discuss the importance of setting goals:
1. Employee Motivation:
Goal setting always keeps the employees motivated when he is clear about what needs to be achieved. In turn, the performance and productivity of the employee increase proportionately, which improves engagement. Employees feel engaged towards their accomplishments and their job satisfaction level is always on the higher side.
2. Prioritize the tasks:
Once precise and clear goals are set on track, it helps the employees to focus on the priorities.
This ensures that they complete the tasks on time and increases their ability to plan their work -what needs to be done and when it has to be completed
3. Right decision at the Right time:
Goals help to amplify the decision-making skill of the employees. All decisions are evaluated against the goals and the outcomes they produce. It also enables the company to take challenging decisions without affecting the business.
4. Measuring the progress:
SMART goals enable the measurement of goal progress quantitatively and qualitatively. while we measure individual and departmental progress it helps us to understand the organization’s progress
5. Employee engagement:
Goals set a roadmap to employees’ success in the organization and make them responsible for the overall success. Properly devised and stated goals direct the employees towards skill improvement and in turn result in a higher ratio of engaged employees.
Things to consider before setting a goal
Setting a goal is considered to be the vital step in building a successful career. Professional goals guide you to what you want to achieve and where you would like to see yourself in your career. There are a few factors that need to be considered before setting a goal.
1. Recollect past success stories:
Have an insight into the past achievements, think how you felt after accomplishing the goal, how important it was at that time, what changes need to be done now, and what impact it has created in your career.
2. Start with some important “W” questions?
3. Take time for groundwork:
It is considered good even if you take a little extra time to bring clarity on what you want to do.
At the same time, it is not about what you enjoy doing. Research and categorize what is essential and keep away fuzzy things. As goal setting is a repeated process, you can come back to it at any point in time.
4. Create SMART goals:
SMART is an effective way to create a goal and measure the progress ensuring that the goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It provides structure and clarity to your goals that reflects how you will accomplish the goal and how you will measure the success.
What Does the SMART Acronym Stand For?
S – Specific
When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to accomplish. Think about this as the mission statement for your goal. This isn’t a detailed list of how you’re going to meet a goal, but it should include an answer to the popular ‘w’ questions:
- Who – Consider who needs to be involved to achieve the goal (this is especially important when you’re working on a group project).
- What – Think about exactly what you are trying to accomplish and don’t be afraid to get very detailed.
- When – You’ll get more specific about this question under the “time-bound” section of defining SMART goals, but you should at least set a time frame.
- Where – This question may not always apply, especially if you’re setting personal goals, but if there’s a location or relevant event, identify it here.
- Which – Determine any related obstacles or requirements. This question can be beneficial in deciding if your goal is realistic. For example, if the goal is to open a baking business, but you’ve never baked anything before, that might be an issue. As a result, you may refine the specifics of the goal to be “Learn how to bake in order to open a baking business.”
- Why – What is the reason for the goal? When it comes to using this method for employees, the answer will likely be along the lines of company advancement or career development.
M – Measurable
What metrics are you going to use to determine if you meet the goal? This makes a goal more tangible because it provides a way to measure progress. If it’s a project that’s going to take a few months to complete, then set some milestones by considering specific tasks to accomplish.
A – Achievable
This focuses on how important a goal is to you and what you can do to make it attainable and may require developing new skills and changing attitudes. The goal is meant to inspire motivation, not discouragement. Think about how to accomplish the goal and if you have the tools/skills needed. If you don’t currently possess those tools/skills, consider what it would take to attain them.
R – Relevant
Relevance refers focusing on something that makes sense with the broader business goals. For example, if the goal is to launch a new product, it should be something that’s in alignment with the overall business objectives. Your team may be able to launch a new consumer product, but if your company is a B2B that is not expanding into the consumer market, then the goal wouldn’t be relevant.
T – Time-Bound
Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks realistic timing, chances are you’re not going to succeed. Providing a target date for deliverables is imperative. Ask specific questions about the goal deadline and what can be accomplished within that time period. If the goal will take three months to complete, it’s useful to define what should be achieved half-way through the process. Providing time constraints also creates a sense of urgency.
Do’s and Don’ts in Setting SMART Goals
Now that you have seen some SMART goals examples, we want to share with you the “do’s and don’ts” of setting SMART goals. This shortlist has examples of what others have done in the past that have impeded their ability to set successful SMART goals and execute on them thoroughly.
There are strategies for getting your team on board with your SMART goals, which will make you more likely to be successful at implementing your goals. Keep these tips in mind while you’re considering your SMART business goals examples.
- Get your team involved. People are more passionate about goals they help create. Have your team brainstorm ideas, and involve them in the process of narrowing and selecting the goals they want to work on.
- Make a plan of action. There should be specific goals for each step of the way. This is like making mini-SMART goals to help you reach your overall SMART goal.
- Write it down. Every team member needs a copy of the plan, with the big goal and the smaller goals. This helps everyone stay on track.
- Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. After every project, have everyone evaluate their own performance and the team’s performance as a whole. What was the goal? Did you achieve it? What went well? What went wrong? What could you have done better? What did you learn? What specific actions can you take to improve your performance in the future?
- Reassess the goals as needed. As you work on a project, you might find that you need to change your plan, or even adjust your broader SMART goal. Take time to make sure the plan you have is still in alignment with your overall goals and vision.
- Use a performance management system. It can be hard to keep up with all the elements of goal setting and follow-up, especially in a large organization. A performance management system can help you keep track of everything.