I am a big believer in goal setting. It’s important to have goals for every area of your life: spiritual, personal, family, business, financial. We need both long-term goals, short-term goals and intermediate goals. Goals give you a target. They help you focus on what’s most important to you. Goals make it easier to determine your priorities. If it helps you achieve a goal, it become a priority. They also allow you to be more intentional. Without goals we tend to drift through life hoping that good things will come our way. With goals we become more intentional about what we are doing, and that intentionality often leads to greater success.
Many people make the mistake of having dreams but not goals. Goals must be written down. An unwritten goal is just a dream, and dreams don’t have nearly as much power as goals. When we write down our goals, and keep them in front of us, they have much more influence over our lives than we merely have a dream that we think about from time to time.
Not only must goals be written down; they must be SMART goals. By forcing yourself to create SMART goals you are also forcing yourself to think through your goals and develop goals that are more clear and precise. A SMART goal is
- Specific – You are identifying something specific that you will accomplish.
- Measurable – If you cannot measure the results you don’t have a goal.
- Attainable – Goals should stretch you but at the same time be doable.
- Realistic – Your goals must be realistic given your current situation and resources.
- Time-defined – There must be a written deadline by which the goal will be achieved.
“We want to see our business grow” is not a SMART goal. It is merely a dream that doesn’t generate a lot of energy or focus. “We want to grow our business by 10 percent by the end of 2016” is a SMART goal. It is specific, it can be measured, it is likely attainable and realistic, and you have a clear deadline. On December 31, 2016 you can measure your business, compare it to the previous year, and determine if you achieved a ten percent growth or not.
“We will improve our customer satisfaction” is not a SMART goal. “We will achieve a customer satisfaction score of 90 percent by the end of 2016 and increase that to 98 percent by the end of 2017” would be a SMART goal. Obviously, in order to do this you have to have a way to measure customer satisfaction. You will need to either develop a way to measure that or contract with a company who can do that for you.
Tomorrow we will take a further look at goal setting and examine how to further improve your goal setting strategy.