Setting goals is the best way to ensure progress, stick to deadlines and ultimately, to tangibly quantify success. But it is important to take on strategic methods when setting goals, and to stick to SMART goal planning.
What are SMART goals? They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Each time you lay out a goal, evaluate it for these five qualities. This will ensure that the goals are driving you towards success, rather than setting you up for failure.
Once you have your SMART goals in place:
1. Align your goals with your values. Your goals must reflect what you believe in or you will lack the passion and drive to achieve them. The pay out from achieving a goal means nothing if it does not ultimately reflect your overall business vision.
Each goal should have a meaningful motivation and actively move you along the path that was set out in your vision statement.
2. Define the importance, or the ‘why’ behind the goal. Why this goal? What does it achieve, how does it benefit your business and your bottom line? Examine the why behind the goal and be sure to stay realistic.
Don’t attempt to change the world with one goal. Stick to small and relevant tasks, which act as building blocks that support each other. Goals should link together to form a net of accomplishment, designed to further escalate your business and support it through development.
3. Establish a support system and minimize potential challenges. A measured amount of preparation is required before embarking on any journey, and this is no exception. Make sure you share your goal with the people who support you – both at work and at home. Having support groups, even informal ones, can boost your confidence, provide motivation and help you through obstacles.
4. Map your route and choose your crew. This is where you break it down from point A to point B. How will you get there? Determine a timeframe; create a plan of action that is realistic and time sensitive. Deadlines – stressful? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. Decide who needs to be on board, keep them involved in the planning process and keep the team as small as you can – that whole ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ thing rings true here.
5. Delegate! A good leader knows how to get the best out of their team and this is particularly so when trading conditions become more challenging. Understand your team’s strengths and leverage them. And ask for help when you start to lose your way.
6. Celebrate and reward! Celebrating achievements is an important step on the continued path to success. Reward yourself and your team for a job well done, particularly if it was a struggle. Celebrate, then evaluate. Define what worked, what did not, what could be improved upon in the future, and apply what you learn to the next goal.