Want to Succeed? Set Goals!
Whether it is a one-man band or a multi-national conglomerate, one thing is for sure: successful companies set goals. Setting clear and realistic goals over a determined period – monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. – gives everyone in your organisation something to aim for. I’m not a huge one for business mantras, but there is one that I think really stacks up: “What gets measured gets done.” In terms of the success of your business, your goals are in many ways a measure of exactly how well you expect to be doing.
However, it is not always easy to know what to strive for, rather than vague objectives such as “sell more” or “spend less”. That’s why realistic goal setting takes strong business knowledge and foresight into future decision making to understand and plan what can often be a complex map toward success. To help you on your way to where you want to be, here are some essential tips to setting strong, yet attainable goals…
Short-term objectives breed long-term success
While setting a lofty goal like, “Become the No. 1 leader in the industry” may be exhilarating, it lacks both detail and direction and certainly doesn’t paint a clear picture as to how that might become a reality. It’s a long-term goal, and an aggressive one at that. But setting short-term goals related to the big picture are vital to success, and they don’t distract from attaining the final result. Sure, you can have your headline “be the best” type goals if you find them inspiring, but without a series of short-term objectives or checkpoint to chart your progress, they become nothing more than motivation buzzwords.
Set SMART goals
Speaking of attainable goals, one of the most widely used methods to outlining short-term goals is the S.M.A.R.T. tactic. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Essentially, whenever you set a goal for your company you should always ensure that it is:
Specific: Organizations have a greater chance of completing a goal when employees know exactly who is involved, what will be accomplished, and why it’s happening.
Measurable: Determine concrete criteria for success, and then track your progress on the continued effort to reach the goal. Before you take a step further, ask yourself how you plan to measure if you’re hitting the mark.
Attainable: Once you determine the goal, seek out the ways you can make them a reality. Do you have the financial resources? The skills to get the job done? Can you actually do this, or not?
Realistic: Goals can be aggressive, but be real with yourself. Setting an unattainable goal is not realistic and will only deter the business from actually seeing it through completion.
Timely: Set a hard deadline. With no time frame in place, there is no sense of urgency to actually complete the job.
Be ready to adapt
Goal-setting should not be a one-time event but an ongoing determination of how to grow the company over time. Once you have met – or missed – an objective, it’s important to take a step back, look at progress and make changes. Is the economy or industry fluctuating and hindering your growth strategy? Were your financial projections too aggressive? Did you lose a top sales person? Very few things in business are set in stone, and it is perfectly acceptable to weigh up any changes to your circumstances reevaluate your goals from time to time.