Something that most gurus agree on is that the first step towards success is a correct definition of what smart goals are.
Setting smart goals will help you clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources more productively and increase your chances of achieving what is proposed in your professional or personal life.
In this article, we will explore the definition of Smart Objectives, how to set those objectives and some examples to have a clearer vision of the operation of the Smart methodology.
WHAT ARE SMART OBJECTIVES?
There are endless methodologies, but the SMART type has gained greater credibility and popularity for its results in recent years, according to which the objectives must have the following characteristics:
S (Specific) SPECIFIC
M (Measurable) MEASURABLE
A (Achievable) REACHABLE
R (Relevant) RELEVANT
T (Timely) OPPORTUNITY – BOUNDED IN TIME
THE OBJECTIVES MUST BE SPECIFIC
Setting a smart goal should not be ambiguous. Rather, it must have a clear and concise objective to which it can be set. When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to achieve. The more specific your description, the greater the possibility of complying with it.
Some of the questions that can be asked when setting a specific objective are:
What exactly do I want to achieve?
What are the conditions and limitations?
Why exactly do I want to achieve this goal?
What are the possible alternatives to achieve the same?
Napoleon Hill says that one of the rules of success is the precise definition of objectives. For example: ‘I’m going to get fit’ is not a specific goal. ‘I’m going to run 30 minutes a day from Monday to Friday’. It’s specific.
METHODS MUST ALSO BE MEASURABLE
This will help us to know if the proposed objective is being met or we are not reaching what we had set as the goal. If you want to evaluate the progress of your team, you need to quantify your goals, such as achieving an X percent increase in visitors, potential customers or customers.
When measuring an objective we can compare it with the planning or with the objective and decide in case of deviations or variations what corrective measures we are going to take.
Also, tracking the progress of your goal is an important part of keeping you motivated. It allows you to set milestones that you can celebrate when you meet them and re-evaluate when you don’t. It is a good idea, then, to always have some aspect of your goal that can be measured and evaluated.
The previous example of running 30 minutes every day is measurable and therefore is correctly stated since it allows knowing if it is not being fulfilled.
A measurable objective should address questions such as:
How will I know when it’s fulfilled?
THEY HAVE TO BE REACHABLE
Is your goal attainable? Most people make a mistake in setting impossible goals for themselves. Instead of setting impossible goals, your goals should be challenging but attainable.
For an objective to be attainable, you have to weigh the effort, time and other costs that your goal will have against profits and the other obligations and priorities you have in life.
For example, if your business sales increased 5% last month, try increasing it by 7 to 10% this month, not 30%. It is crucial to base your objectives on your own analyzes, not on industry benchmarks.
Similarly, think about how to achieve the goal and if you have the necessary tools and / or skills. If you currently do not have those tools or skills, consider what it would take to achieve them. The goal should inspire motivation and not discouragement.
On the other hand, if you do not have the time, money or talent to reach a certain goal, it will surely fail and be miserable. However, this does not mean that you cannot take something that seems impossible and make it happen by planning intelligently.
If your goals involve several people, you should talk to them and achieve their commitment, as collective goals are a challenge to achieve if those involved are not committed to them and the team.
For example, a company that intends to generate $ 75,000 or 5% of total net sales will only achieve it if everyone is enrolled with the common goal. Otherwise, it may happen that what one saves is spent by another, and this will surely lead to conflicts. It is important to communicate
Clear and ensure that everyone on the team is aligned with the achievement of these goals. Everybody!
An attainable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How can I achieve this goal?
How realistic is the objective, based on other restrictions, such as financial factors?
MUST BE RELEVANT
Is reaching your goal relevant to you? To make sure your goal is relevant, make sure it is worth your time, make sure that achieving it will provide positive benefits in your life and make sure that this goal aligns at least to some extent with the other goals you have in your life. professional and / or personal life.
This step is to ensure that your goal is important to you and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance to achieve our goals, but it is important to maintain control over them. Therefore, make sure that your plans push everyone forward, but that you are still responsible for achieving your own goal.
A relevant objective can answer “yes” to these questions:
Does this seem worth it?
Is this the right time?
Does this match our other efforts / needs?
Am I the right person to achieve this goal?
Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
The stated objectives must be within their own possibilities. To propose something that is not relevant is an open door to failure. You may want to compete in the next Olympics, but is it the right time to undertake the required training or do you have the necessary physical conditions? Are you sure you are the right person to participate in an Olympiad? Perhaps participating in the next race in your city may be more relevant to your degree of competitiveness.
HAVE TO BE BOUND IN TIME (TIMES)
SMART objectives set intelligently; require a time limit to be met. Limiting something in time means that a period must be established within which the objective must be met. It is observed that normally what we first do is that for which we have less term and that we leave for the less urgent later.
Effective Smart objectives must have an objective time attached. For example, instead of saying “I want to start going to the gym,” I could say “I want to go to the gym in the next six months.”
You can see how the person who set that second goal will be much more motivated to succeed since they have an established date in mind for their goal.
Attaching deadlines to your goals puts pressure on your team to achieve them. And this will help you achieve consistent and significant long-term progress. If you don’t give yourself a deadline, achieving your goal will take too long to achieve long-term success.
Anyone can set goals, but if we don’t have a calendar with set dates, it is probably not successful. Providing dates for deliverables is imperative as time constraints create a sense of urgency.
Everyone knows that deadlines make most people switch to action. So install realistic deadlines, for you and your team, and go after them. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, that way you can meet the established goals.
If you do not have a time limit you can fall into relaxation and the goal can be delayed to infinity.
A limited time objective will usually answer these questions:
What can I do in six months?
What can I do in six weeks?
What can I do today?
These are the five points to set goals intelligently with the SMART rule.
4 EXAMPLES OF SMART OBJECTIVES
EXAMPLE OF SMART OBJECTIVE: INCREASE TRAFFIC TO WEB PAGE
Specific: Increase the traffic of our website by increasing the frequency of weekly publications from 5 to 10 times a week. Our content writers will increase their workload from 5 to 10 posts per week.
Measurable: Our goal is a 9% increase in traffic.
Achievable: Our website traffic increased 4% last month when we increased our weekly publication frequency to 5 times per week.
Relevant: By increasing the traffic of our website, we will increase brand awareness and generate more potential customers, generating more sales opportunities.
Time: End of this month.
Smart Objective: At the end of this month, our website will see a 9% increase in traffic by increasing our weekly publication frequency from 5 publications per week to 10 publications per week.
EXAMPLE OF SMART OBJECTIVES: START AN E-COMMERCE BUSINESS
Specific: I will sell handmade bracelets through Shopify.
Measurable: I will be ready to take my first order in Shopify within two weeks and my goal will be to sell a minimum of 10 bracelets per week.
Achievable: I will first install in Shopify and then make an inventory of 50 handmade bracelets to sell. Finally, I will promote my business and develop relationships with customers through social networks and a blog.
Relevant: Selling handmade bracelets will allow me to benefit financially from my favorite hobby.
Time: My shop in Shopify will be operational within two weeks, and will have an inventory of 50 bracelets to sell within five weeks.
Smart Objective: In two weeks I will have my online store in Shopify, which will allow me to benefit financially from my favorite hobby. Within five weeks, I will have an inventory of 50 handmade bracelets to sell and the goal is to sell a minimum of ten bracelets.
3. EXAMPLE OF SMART OBJECTIVE: IMPROVE CUSTOMER TELEPHONE CARE
Specific: We will answer all customer questions immediately and solve the problems within 24 hours of receipt.
Measurable: Calls will be answered within the first three whistles of the phone. Support tickets will be closed within 24 hours of being received.
Achievable: We will have a trained and available team to meet the response and resolution metrics.
Relevant: Consumer service is one of the pillars of our business; therefore, we must exemplify that characteristic of the company by improving response rates and customer service.
Time: Response and resolution metrics will be reviewed every month to verify compliance. If the objectives are not achieved, we will implement improvement measures that will restore service levels before the next monthly review.
Smart Objective: We will improve the telephone service of our customers by increasing the telephone response rate. The response rate will be increased because the phone will be answered immediately and the solution will be provided to the customer within 24 hours. Positive metrics (improvement) are expected during the first month.
DO YOU NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR OBJECTIVES?
Now you can check how your goals for this year are set, do they comply with the SMART rule? If not, check them because they are in danger of not being fulfilled.
In practice, it is very common to meet companies where the objectives are defined with their goal to be achieved, responsible and the deadline to achieve them. However, strategies to achieve these objectives are rarely defined, that is, what, when and who is defined, but “how are we going to achieve it” is not defined.
The objectives have to be determined within an Action Plan. “As long as we don’t have an Action Plan, nothing can happen; a good plan has SMART objectives. Establishing correct objectives provides the plan with the necessary support for its fulfillment”.