In today’s sluggish economy where everything is constantly changing it has become imperative to understand that everything comes down to priorities. Whether it be in our personal or business life without goals or objectives everything becomes a series of chaotic events that you are not prepared to deal with.
If goal setting is so important then why is that SMART goal setting is one of the most effective and yet one of the most under-utilised tools. Perhaps it is because we fail to set goals that inspire. The first step in setting objectives is that they have to be specific. When one looks at specific we tend to focus on What do I want to accomplish and we fail to look at the bigger picture.
Being Specific focuses on not only the what but also the who, where when and most importantly the why. What has to be broken down further to why do I want to accomplish this. The why are the hinges that will keep you true to your goal. Thus, it needs important to you and that there is value in achieving the goal. Why will make you remain committed to achieving the goal and it will hold you accountable and it will be the funnel that blows the sense of urgency and the need to see this through to the end. Once you have identified your “why” it is easier to move on to who. Who specifically identifies who is involved, to what extent will they be involved how will they add value to the goal. The next thing is to identify where, be specific does it entail a physical location is so where, if online what platforms will be used and why those? The next step is to be specific around your when? Establish a time frame as to when you want to achieve this goal and why?
The why is very important as it will determine your tenacity and resilience on achieving the goal ~ Why ~ purpose, reason, benefits of accomplishing the said goal.
Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “What’s measured improves” and for that to happen ones needs to be able to have a logical structure and track-ability of events that allows them to evaluate and quantify results. Measurable, how will I know when it is accomplished? One needs to establish a specific plan to mark progress along the journey, be able to translate data into numbers and interpret the results. In doing so one needs to Identify requirements and constraints. For example, I set my goals as a road map, I am specific about my end results and I quantify my start results. May at times we get consumed by the end results such that we never take the time to understand where are we right now. The starting point is important as the end because it is your moment of truth for it provides you with clarity as to | Where am I? | How much of work do I need to do to get there? | How will know that I have arrived? | What are some of the problems I will anticipate along the way.
Measurable allows you to set the foundation in determining if the goal is Attainable. Along the journey one needs to anticipate that there will be potholes, roadblocks, detours, humps, speed traps along the way these are marked as constraints that you can think of at the time. Then you have overnight, food, accommodation, fuel stations, growth points, small towns cities which mark milestones that will give you the energy to keep on going. Then you will also need first aid kits, emergency numbers denoted the requirements, tools, and strategies that you will need in place to help you prepare for the unforeseen and also make the journey comfortable and easy. If this step is done right, the momentum to start the journey starts to build up as the goal comes to life.
The Realistic step is also used as a loop system to evaluate and revisit the assumptions under the S.M.A block. Questions such am I willing and able to do the work? Is my why in line with what I want to achieve? Will I be able to track and measure my result, are my goals attainable? How will they add value? Do I have the necessary resources? Do I have a plan to access the resources and information I currently do not have? How will I get the resources I am currently needing? Why is it important for me or my business to achieve this goal. Certainly life happens and you can never plan for an accident but you can prepare for it. Is your business or mindset currently aligned to achieve this goal? This step provides a shift from looking at the external brings it closer to home. It’s all about you and the business, do you poses the emotional fortitude to keep on going in spite of? Have you set a goal that inspires? Have you written it down and plotted it and assessed the pros and cons. Have you considered the financial impact and made plans to address this?
Time does not really focus on when will I know if I have achieved my goal, but rather it breaks down the goals into an action plan that plots your progress. It breaks your goal into small manageable steps that allow you to achieve your goal. Timeline sets out your strategy plan that allows you to evaluate Am I heading in the right direction? If not what happened? What did we do right and wrong? How can we improve? Have we accomplished what we have set out to do at that specific date? Do we need to re-evaluate our assumptions based on what we know today, how do we move on from here to get achieve out goal? Time maps out your journey as to where you need to be at a point in time and this becomes your blueprint for achieving your goals.
SMART goal settings allow you to shift your mindset to focusing on being positive. Your end destination over the long term rarely changes but the action plan that is set changes along the way. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high. Goal setting is an invaluable tool that should be used integrated be the backdrop of our business and lives.
As Zig Ziglar once said “Time can be an ally or an enemy. What it becomes depends on entirely upon you, your goals, and your determination to use every available minute.”