“Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day” Samuel Goldwin
January 1st - Goals for the year
December 31st - Goals achieved, 1 out of 3 possibly (not sure)
Business loves goals, objectives, targets, reports, meetings, meetings about meetings, metrics. In fact, you can get so bogged down in the processes and procedures that no actual value is achieved.
There are all sort of goals in every type of organisation; short-term and comprehensive which are easily understood by all involved and others are long-term and ambiguous and therefore open to each person’s interpretation.
SMART refers to criteria for setting goals and objectives. Used in Project Management and Employee Performance it can and should be applied to all aspects of business.
There are goals and there are objectives. Simply put, goals establish where you want to go and when you want to get there, objectives are the specific steps you need to achieve your goal.
Seriously? You ask. Not enough hours in the day …. I am not advocating taking hours documenting every single goal and objective. I am advising keeping them in mind to create a clearer picture of what you are trying to do.
With each new client I ask what do you want to achieve (what is your goal)?
Hey John, lovely to meet you. What can I do for you, what do you want to achieve?
You want to save your company money, great. If we get rid of your position, money saved, job done. Now who do I give my invoice to?
Not quite what John had in mind.
“All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.” Lilly Tomlin
You to be specific about what you want to accomplish (who, what, where, when and why). The more specific the goal, the better the results. Ask how you are currently managing your needs, what tools you are using, what is and isn’t working. What your skill set is, company culture; the more questions asked the clearer the picture of what you want to achieve.
“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” Galileo Galilei
It needs to be measurable. If the goal can’t be measured, then how do you know what progress is being made? How are you going to gauge progress and success? Set milestones to indicate progress. Setting up a support desk and process documents, great let’s measure customer satisfaction and response times. Cutting costs, by how much; percentage or amount? Deliver consistent, regular time, cost and progress reporting on projects, keeping track of milestones and timelines.
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.” Thomas Edison
Is it achievable / attainable within your current confines; staff, resources, skills and company culture? Goals that are too high or too low demoralise everyone involved. Whilst goals should stretch and challenge those involved, be careful, it is easy to tip over the fine line to the impossible.
“It's much harder to be relevant than it is to be successful” Bono
How is it relevant to your business? What impact will it have? Making sure your employees can all do the Macarena in perfect unison is not generally relevant to a business unless you are in entertainment business then it may well be essential.
“We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.” Willy Wonka
The goal should have a realistic time-frame (be time bound). Emphasis on realistic (I know the actual emphasis / bold is on time-frame, but you know what I mean). If it’s a long term goal define a start date, regular interim milestones and an end date. Commitment to the deadline and not the understanding that it’s only “guideline” is crucial to a definitive end of a project.
Setting your SMART goals
I cannot reiterate enough the importance of sticking to the original goal and time-frame. Constantly changing the parameters leads to confusion, demoralisation and possibly failure.
Many small businesses use a tailored version of the SMART process to set structured goals and provide their employees with a viable performance plan. Try it in your personal life too.
Find your happy medium for planning your objectives and goals and watch your productivity soar.
Smart Administration Solutions for Startups & SMEs is my business tagline.
See what I did there …. I amaze myself sometimes.
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