Goal setting is a very critical part of organizational success that should be implemented at every level of the organization. It tells employees exactly what to aim for in their respective job responsibilities. Not only do goals provide a sense of direction and purpose, but they also provide motivation, increasing the likelihood of achieving desired outcomes.
The importance of goal setting is underlined by the fact that 94% of organizations conducted formal, year-end reviews of employees’ goals. And, according to a Mercer Global survey, 89% of organizations reported that performance on goals influenced an employee’s performance appraisal, promotion, or bonus.
Because goal setting is imperative (and effective), organizations should leverage a basic methodology to ensure that goals are well-stated and well-developed.
Regardless of your planning method, goals (or similar) should be structured to maximize success.
This is where SMART goals come into play.
So, what is a SMART goal?
The concept of SMART goals has a long history. But in short, it is a popular goal-setting technique used by organizations globally. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Below are a few questions you can ask to ensure the goal meets the criteria.
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why do I want to accomplish it?
- Who is involved in accomplishing this goal?
- How will I know that this goal has been accomplished?
- What are the key lagging and leading indicators for success for this goal?
- Can progress for this goal be reasonably measured?
- What will it take to accomplish this goal?
- Given all time, capacity, and resource constraints, how realistic is the achievement of this goal?
- Has this been successfully accomplished before?
- Does this goal align with higher-level organizational goals and objectives?
- Will the investment in accomplishing this goal be worthwhile?
- Do we have the proper people and resources to accomplish this goal?
- When do I want the work on this goal to begin?
- By when do I want this goal to be accomplished?
- Have all dependencies been considered?
How do I make my goals even smarter?
Creating SMART goals is one of the first steps to setting up your plan for success. Answering the questions above can set you on the right path to achieving your goals. But after the goals are in place, what can you do to enhance execution?
Here are a few additional things you can do to make your SMART goals smarter and increase the likelihood of success.
When developing SMART goals, it’s important to ensure that the goals are aligned. Alignment is often a buzzword but said simply: the goal supports higher-level departmental and organizational goals.
According to research from the PMI, aligning goals to business needs and strategic objectives drives executive support and funding. This is directly correlated to achieving success.
Aligning SMART goals will enable everyone in the organization to understand how they support the organizational goals.
Track Progress Simply
I often see a lot of work spent developing goals and engagement at the onset of a planning process. But when it comes to executing and tracking progress over time, the momentum is lost. The lack of effective tracking makes it difficult to gauge progress towards goals.
As tracking turns to reporting, this issue is further exacerbated due to convoluted reporting processes.
When you have a simple tracking and reporting process, it’s easier to reduce failures and maintain focus. Without tracking in place, creating SMART goals is a lost cause.
Your chance for successful execution is dramatically increased by ensuring visibility. By providing visibility, you create the opportunity to remove barriers to execution and enable timely conversations.
The best way to ensure visibility is to create a streamlined process to receive updates and funnel those updates into effective reports. Continual visibility of SMART goals will enable quick decisions and pivots throughout the year.
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