Be S.M.A.R.T

The S.M.A.R.T. acronym is one that has been presented, discussed and applied to goal setting in various aspects of business over the years. As there is some uncertainty concerning the originator of this concept, it is difficult to know exactly how and when it was first applied. In any event, regardless of when its use may have been first noted, it is a concept that we all should be aware of and apply to both our business and personal lives. This thought process will force you to be very precise and specific when establishing your goals. By doing so, your approach to the tasks at hand will be much more organized which will enable you to more efficiently utilize your time.

You can set both short term and long term goals. Regardless of the time parameter, it is typically recommended that goals be reviewed are regular intervals. As such, I prefer to set quarterly goals and assess my progress during the quarter as well as at the end of each 3-month period.

So, what does S.M.A.R.T. stand for? Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Timely. The inclusion of all of these concepts when establishing your goals should produce a goal which will yield very definitive results. Whether they are monetary in nature, procedural, or project specific, the ability to so completely define your objectives will significantly benefit your company over time.

Here are some thoughts to consider when setting your goals:

SPECIFIC: Your goal needs to be very clearly defined. In doing so, the objective needs to be as detailed as appropriate so that there is no question as to what needs to be accomplished.

MEASURABLE: There should be mechanism built into your goal that will enable you to measure the results.

ATTAINABLE: There needs to be an element of reality introduced into the goal setting process as it makes no sense to set goals which are beyond your reach. This is a very essential component as you should only be focusing on those goals that are possible to attain.

RELEVANT: The goal should make sense in context of the company’s strategic plans, mission statement and budget. Introducing a goal which doesn’t take these into account or runs contrary to them will only cause confusion, create additional and possibly unnecessary work and divert your focus.

TIME FRAME: The deadline or time schedule for attaining the goal needs to be established and should be realistic based on the amount of effort that will have to be invested.

An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal which takes all of these concepts into consideration is as follows:

-Increasing awareness of your company and its products/services by creating a presence on the social media sites by spending 20 minutes per day for one month setting up profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, posting relevant business information (products, events, advice, or news) and building a network of at least 50 influential contacts on each site.

As you can see from the above example, each of the concepts has been taken into consideration when formulating the goal. In an effort to ensure that you are on the right track once your goal has been set, run it by a colleague, family member or someone who’s opinion that is valued to ensure that the objective is explicitly clear, concise and complete. If this is not the case, it would be better to fine tune your goal so that you can stay focused and more productively tackle the tasks that need to be addressed.

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