When developing plans, it is critical to develop goals. Developing clear, specific goals helps you focus and ensure you operate effectively and efficiently. Time is the most valuable resource you have and you must create a clear roadmap to achieve business success. Developing SMART goals ensures you stay laser focused on achieving your targets.
SMART goals are specific, measureable, actionable, realistic, and timely. Creating SMART goals provides a clear, measurable roadmap for you and your teams. As the old saying goes, “you can’t manage, what you can’t measure”. Teams want and need direction. Creating SMART goals provides this.
Daniel D. Matthews (2011) in his excellent book The A3 Workbook provides an excellent template for developing a SMART goal. The goal statement should include four criteria:
- Do what (verb)
- To what (brief descriptive statement)
- How much (specific measurement)
- By when (specific time frame)
The following is an example of a specific and clear target statement using Matthews (2011) template.
Increase (verb) SuperX Refrigerator sales in the East region (to what) from 7% to 11% (how much) by March 31, 2017 (by when).
Use questions to develop each element of the statement:
Specific – what do you want to accomplish, etc.
Measurable – how much, how many, etc.
Actionable – how can this be accomplished, what is required, etc.
Realistic – is this possible, is this viable, feasible, or desirable, etc.
Timely – when do we need to accomplish this, etc.
Make sure the goal statement clearly states the goal you are trying to achieve by removing the root cause of the problem or achieving a specific accomplishment. Most importantly, the statement must be measureable – you cannot manage what you do not measure (the SMART goal template will help keep you focused). Without clear measures it is extremely difficult to manage and improve.
Leaders need to provide a clear direction for teams. Employees want to know where they need to go and develop plans how to get there. Developing SMART goals provides this needed structure and discipline.
Practice writing SMART goals, then share with team members, and slowly integrate within your plans. As your team members understand the benefits of SMART goals, you will have higher probabilities of success and a stronger, more cohesive team. Stop wasting time, add some discipline to your planning, and use your time more effectively.
The A3 Workbook: Unlock Your Problem-Solving Mind by Daniel D. Matthews (2011)