We all know 2020 was a difficult and confusing year. Unfortunately, visibility for 2021 isn’t much better. We could be in store for another roller–coaster 12 months.
With that likelihood to contend with, good business practices are even more important than usual. Make sure your fundamentals are sound so that you don’t contribute mistakes to what could be another challenging year. In other words, make 2021 the year of SMART goals.
What are SMART goals? It’s an acronym that describes the best way to frame objectives. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
You shouldn’t just use these guidelines in your own decision making. You want the structure in place throughout your organization.
Here’s how you can help your team set SMART goals in 2021:
What it is: Try to stay away from generalities. For instance, don’t just push for an increase in sales. Target a 5% boost in a particular product. This way, it’s easier to make meaningful policy and strategic decisions.
How to help your team: When you direct an initiative, make your goals specific. At the same time, demand the same from the members of your team. When reviewing targets determined by your employees, coach them to narrow the focus as much as possible.
What it is: What performance metrics are you using? Without a quantifiable way to gauge success, you’ll never know if you achieve your goal or not. For instance, don’t announce a program “to improve the corporate culture.” That doesn’t have a measurable component. Instead, target a 10% improvement in employee satisfaction surveys.
How to help your team: Tie every goal to a particular outcome. Look for a numerical measure whenever possible. Be careful though. If you don’t choose the right measuring stick, you might end up chasing the wrong goal.
What it is: It’s valuable to have lofty dreams. But there’s a difference between a wish and a goal. To achieve big–picture ambitions, set smaller, near–term goals. At the same time, conceive objectives that your team can reach. Overly ambitious targets will only lead to frustration.
How to help your team: Keep everyone’s feet firmly on the ground. Your employees will want to impress you. They’ll want to reach for ambitious targets. You want your objectives to be reasonably challenging, so you incentivize hard work and innovation. But still, keep goals in the realm of possibility.
What it is: How does your goal fit into the greater strategic framework? You can do a great job achieving your near-term objective…but if that victory doesn’t advance your overall situation, it doesn’t have much value.
How to help your team: Keep the long term in mind. Make sure every project supports your broad mission. At the same time, remember topics like culture and values. It’s important to advance these less-quantifiable objectives as well.
What it is: Don’t give projects an extremely long timeframe. Five–year plans can set an excellent strategic framework. But to make progress, you have to bring those concepts into the near term. What are you doing this quarter? This month? This week?
How to help your team: Break any longer-term goals into its component parts. Stack smaller goals on top of each other to reach more ambitious targets.
Helping your team set goals will allow you to thrive in 2021 and beyond. To reach your full potential, however, you need to have the right team in place. You can get that by working with a top-flight recruiting firm, like SmartTalent.
Contact SmartTalent today to discover ways to upgrade your staff.