It’s not enough to declare that you want to increase your turnover or open two new branches. That’s vague thinking. The truth is, the best goals in business are SMART goals. Clearly, SMART is an acronym. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. SMART goals are strategically designed to give any business project structure and support and to set out more clearly what you want to achieve – and by when. With SMART goals, you get to track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing your progress keeps you focused, helps you hit your deadlines, and creates a sense of excitement when you get nearer to hitting your targets. SMART goal-setting can also stop you feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of a project. Let’s look more closely at each of those five elements.
Firstly, let’s clear up where the term began. SMART goals were born in 1981, when George T. Doran, a consultant for the Washington Water Power Company, published an article in the November issue of Management Review. “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” introduces SMART goals as a way of setting out criteria that improve the odds of achieving a goal.
What do you truly want to accomplish? Specifically. You might have written mission statements before. Well, this is the mission statement for your goal. To help formulate some answers here, think about your goal in terms of the six Ws:
You should start by asking you and your team a bunch of questions, thereby defining your strategy. Hopefully, you’ll end up with something that’s attainable. Try to be realistic, but not too conservative. Writing SMART goals is a positive move – giving you something to strive for.
Don’t be put off by this exercise. If you do it right, it should shed a lot of light on your business. Here, we’ve created two scenarios where you might write SMART goals. One’s for a project, and the other is for boosting performance.