2023 is upon us. This year has made us rethink our existing business plans and practices. Hence, it is about time that we take all the learning from the last year and set our goals for the next year, which are realistic and achievable. But how do we ensure that we have set our goals appropriately? Goal setting is part art, part science that sets us and our business up for success and makes it easier to measure our progress. To ensure that our goals are realistic and we make the most out of our time and resources, we can employ a simple yet powerful SMART goal method to create effective goals.
What is a SMART Goal?
A SMART goal is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely goals. Therefore, SMART goals incorporate all of these criteria to help focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal.
Key Characteristics of SMART Goals
S – Specific: While setting up a goal, be as specific as you can about what you want to achieve. It is like the mission statement for your goal. To make sure that you are setting up a specific goal, try answering the ‘w’ questions:
M – Measurable: What parameters are you going to consider to determine if you have achieved the goal? It makes a goal more tangible because it gives us a way to measure our progress. If it’s a project that will take a few months to complete, set some milestones by considering specific tasks and effectively tracking them.
Sometimes measuring progress is difficult, managers and employees can work together to identify the most relevant and feasible data sources. Measurements can be quantitative (milestones, money earned, etc.) and qualitative (client testimonials, surveys, etc.).
A – Achievable: When framing our goals, we should consider if we have the resources, finance, and skills to achieve the goal we are working on. The goal needs to be challenging yet achievable. It should inspire us to work hard and not discourage us. Think about:
R – Relevant: Here, relevance refers to focusing on something that makes sense with your broader business goals. For example, if we want to launch a new program, it should be aligned with the overall business/department objectives. Your team may have the skills and resources to launch a new program, but if your business/department is not prioritizing launching the program, then the goal wouldn’t be relevant.
T – Time-Bound: Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks a realistic time frame, chances are you may not succeed. Providing a target date for deliverables is always recommended to make your goal achievable. Ask questions about the goal deadline and can the goal be accomplished within that period. Providing time constraints also creates a sense of urgency and focus.
Tip on Building Effective SMART Goals
When it comes to writing S.M.A.R.T. goals, brainstorm with team members on all the aspects of goal setting. The entire team needs to take ownership of the goals to make it successful.
Few SMART Goals Templates
This SMART action plan template can be used to showcase your goal-setting in detail. You can list multiple points in each section to draft a clear goal using this SMART goal PPT.
This graphic stair-shaped SMART objectives template is perfect to give a quick overview of your goals. You can use this SMART goal PPT in the 2023 planning presentation.
This horizontal SMART goals PPT template is an effective way to briefly showcase your goals by giving an overview of each element of your SMART goal. Effective use of colors and icons makes this template clear and engaging.
SMART is an effective method that provides the clarity, focus, and direction you need to achieve your goals. It can also improve your ability to achieve your goal by encouraging you to define your objectives and set a completion date. Use SMART goals templates to showcase your business goals to the stakeholders to get consensus and put the strategy into action.