How to Create SMART Goals for Your Company
If you’re a manager, you have almost certainly heard about the concept of SMART goals. But you may feel they do not apply to your particular industry. The truth is almost any industry can benefit from SMART goals when you implement them appropriately. If you’re a manager, you have almost certainly heard about the concept of SMART goals. But you may feel they do not apply to your particular industry. The truth is almost any industry can benefit from SMART goals when you implement them appropriately.
What Are SMART Goals?
Just to refresh, SMART is an acronym that has been used in industrial management since the 1980s. The letters can stand for different things, but the concept is always the same. A common version is that SMART goals are:
The point of SMART goals is to avoid creating amorphous goals for your business or project where no one can really know if you are achieving them or how much progress you are making. SMART goals allow you to focus by making your goals qualitative and quantifiable, so you know quickly whether you are on the right track or need to make adjustments.
How to Create a SMART Goal
First, your SMART goal should be simple, meaning there is no ambiguity about what you are trying to achieve. The best way to generate a simple goal is by asking yourself the five “W”s:
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important to your company?
- Who will be working on this goal?
- Where will they be working on it?
- Which resources will you need?
If the goal can answer all of these questions specifically, there should be no ambiguity about what you are trying to accomplish.
Next, your goal must be measurable, meaning there must be some way to know if you are getting it done. To determine if your goal is measurable, see if you can ask questions like:
- “How much?” How much time should it take, how much do you need to earn or how much do you need to know?
- “How many?” How many items need to be produced, or how many clients do you need to add?
- “How is it accomplished?” For example, this goal will be considered complete when we have built, packed and shipped 1,000 widgets.
Then, your goal must be achievable. If it is not, your employees will quickly lose morale. Ask yourself, “What is required to accomplish this goal? Is it realistic, based on financial concerns, time constraints and other factors?”
Your goal must also be relevant. You must be confident you’ve created a worthwhile goal that matches your company’s need. Creating a goal just to reach it is counter-productive.
Finally, your goal must have a target date. In fact, multiple dates can help you achieve your goals. Ask yourself, “What should be done in one month? In six months? In one year?” Without a target date, working on a certain goal can stretch out into infinity.
With some practice, your company should get better and better at creating SMART goals. Once you’ve created them, you should find they will make your company’s workflow more efficient and your employees more productive.