By Stephen Rhodes
Every business or organization sets goals, some adhere to a formal process of goal setting related to long-term strategic plans, others scratch out a few goals on a napkin after one too many drinks at the annual Christmas luncheon. Many fall somewhere in between.
Most of us want more business, more profit, market share or in the non-profit world more funding or social capital.
The answer to all things more rests on the how, and that’s why goals are so important. Most of us have heard the term Smart Goals, an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based goals.
A specific goal might be to grow widget sales by 5% over the next 12 months by increasing rates 2% and sourcing new clients. Growth can only come from one of three places. A rate increase of 5%, assuming no slippage, would achieve the goal. Leveraging existing business for more could get you there. Or you could go out and find new clients. Whatever path you choose, the specific goal provides a focus that should resonate throughout your organization.
So is our goal measurable? A goal without a yardstick is no goal. With our goal you should be able to monitor progress throughout the year..
Is our goal attainable? While I believe goals need some stretch, too often, we set goals beyond our reach. Look at your past performance, your competitors, the current market for reasonableness when setting goals.
Goals to be attainable have to be relevant. No one was predicting much growth following 2008`s collapse. Monitor the economic climate in your market area, the competitive landscape and historical buying trends to ensure your goal is relevant and achievable.
Set milestones throughout the year to ensure your goal is time-based, with a beginning and an end. A quarterly snapshot on progress may allow for adjustments for the unforeseen that might threaten success.
So while you are doodling with that napkin, write SMART at the top and as these brilliant ideas emerge on martini number three, ask yourself is it SMART?