The Secret to Success, Captured in One Word
When setting goals, many business leaders, executive coaches, and even college professors use a handy acronym to set themselves up for success. Whether you are setting a small goal in your personal life or a major goal for your business, making your goals SMART is the best way to ensure you are en route to achieving your objectives. The SMART method not only helps you to set your goals, but also teaches you how to measure your progress and ensure that you follow through.
S is for Specific
Perhaps you are dreaming big and have a lot of great ideas for your business. The first step in creating a SMART goal is to specify exactly what you want to achieve. No more vague ideas or wishy-washy outcomes. It is the difference between “My goal is to make more money” and “My goal is to earn an extra $5,000 this quarter.” Tailor your goal into a clear, precise vision with clearly outlined expectations.
M is for Measurable
Once you have developed specific goals, the next step is to determine the best indicator or measure of success. It is important to note that measurable does not necessarily have to mean numbers: Yes, “Sign eight new clients” is a measurable goal, but so is “Sign clients referred from our website.” You can measure your goals in dollars and cents, in contracts, or even in performance reviews or confidential feedback.
A is for Achievable
Dreaming big is wonderful, but a dream and a goal are differentiated by their practicality. If your goals are not realistic, there is only one result: failure and disappointment. Instead, make your goal ambitious but attainable; you will feel proud of what you have accomplished and will be more likely to succeed. Ask yourself, “Can this be accomplished in that amount of time?” “Can this goal succeed with the resources we have?” “Is it possible to complete this with the current staff?” Check that you have the means to accomplish the goal.
R is for Relevant
Ideas come in all shapes and sizes; is it worth your energy to strive towards a goal that is obsolete or unnecessary? Does your office really need a swimming pool, or would that time, effort and money be better spent elsewhere? Considering the relevance of your goal can help you to understand where it fits within your priorities – if at all.
T is for Time-bound
A goal without a deadline just asks to be cast aside. Set a realistic timeline with several milestones so that you can track progress and ensure you will meet the final deadline. Establish or outline clear consequences if you or your team fails to complete tasks on time.
In the SMART acronym, no one element holds more weight than the others. Each component can drastically improve your chances of success; as interlinking parts, each relies on the others to create a well-rounded goal that you can accomplish.
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