Did you know that systematic goal setting can increase your organisation's productivity by up to 39%? Even better, having management support this approach can increase productivity by as much as 57%. Read our new article to find out how to set the right goals to increase not only efficiency, but also motivation and employee satisfaction. Get inspired and take the next big step towards your business' success.
The concept of SMART goals was first introduced by George T. Doran in 1981 as a tool for effective planning and management in a business environment. Doran's original framework focused on delegating tasks within a corporate structure and has since been used for planning various personal goals and career growth. Today, the concept is used by thousands of organizations and individuals around the world.
The SMART method is one of the most effective goal setting and planning tools and is used in management and strategic planning to create clearly defined goals. The name SMART is an acronym where each letter represents one of the key characteristics of an effective goal. It should therefore be:
Thus, the use of the SMART method leads to the creation of clear, measurable, achievable, meaningful and time-bound goals that can be easily monitored and evaluated. This increases the likelihood of their successful achievement and improves the overall effectiveness of the organisation.
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The first stage of SMART planning is to clearly and specifically define what you wish to achieve. Vague and general formulations of objectives should be avoided at this stage. For example, if you intend to 'increase sales', it is important to develop this intention into a more detailed and specific plan.
To make your goal specific, answer the who, what, when, where and why questions. For example, instead of an abstract intention to "increase sales," you should make your goal more specific. Specific wording might look like, "I want to increase sales by 30% by the end of the year by expanding my sales team and focusing on new markets." This goal is not only specific, but also includes answers to the questions mentioned above, giving you a clear roadmap for how to achieve it.
Measurability is an important element in the SMART planning process. The goal should be quantifiable, meaning it should include specific metrics or indicators that can be tracked. These metrics will allow you to know if you are moving in the right direction and how effective your efforts are. Without these quantifiable metrics, it would be difficult to determine if you are achieving what you set out to do.
Different types of goals require different metrics to measure success. Staying with the example from the previous section, if your goal is to "increase sales," you can track metrics such as total sales or sales growth. If your goal is to "improve service quality," you can track customer satisfaction. Choosing the right indicators is essential to effectively monitor and evaluate your progress.
Goal achievability is an essential element of SMART planning. It is important that the goal is set in a way that is consistent with the resources, skills and knowledge available. This includes not only financial resources, but also time, human capacity and technological tools. It should be challenging, but not so challenging as to become unachievable.
If you find that your original plan is too ambitious or too easy, it is important to reassess it. This may involve adjusting the timeframe, allocating resources, or even changing the goal itself to better match reality. This process is essential to maintain achievability and to maximize the team's efforts.
The relevance of a goal is important to its successful completion and to the overall success of the organization. The goal should be aligned with the overall strategy and values of the company. That is, it should contribute to the long-term plans and visions of the organization, while not conflicting with its core principles and goals.
In addition, the objective should deliver concrete value. It should be applicable to the context in which the organisation operates and address current needs or challenges. For example, if one of the company's primary goals is to increase customer satisfaction, then efforts focused on product or service quality would be considered relevant.
Establishing a time frame is an essential part of SMART planning. Each goal should have a clearly defined beginning and end. This timeframe should be realistic, yet challenging enough to stimulate action. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you might set a goal of achieving this by the end of the fiscal year.
Time constraints not only help the team stay on track, but also act as a motivator. When a deadline is set, the team is more likely to work more efficiently and focus on achieving the goal. It also allows for regular check-ins and evaluations, which is key to adjusting the strategy when necessary.
SMART goals are an invaluable tool for career development. Learning how to set and achieve goals is a key skill that can aid in professional growth. For example, if you are early in your career and want to become part of a leadership team, SMART goals can help you identify the skills and steps needed to achieve that goal.
Examples of SMART goals can include various aspects of personal and professional life, from running a marathon to improving relationships with family. For example, if you want to improve your relationships with your family, your SMART goal could include regular phone calls and meetings, with a specific plan and time frame. Now let's look at a specific professional example.
We are a company with a rich history and a broad portfolio of services ranging from cloud solutions to cybersecurity. Since customer satisfaction is key, a SMART goal could be focused on increasing customer satisfaction through improved support and service.
Specifically, the goal could be "Increase customer satisfaction by 15% by the end of the year by optimizing our ServiceDesk and implementing 24/7 support in Czech, English and other selected languages." This goal is specific, measurable (through customer feedback and ratings), achievable (through existing resources and technology), relevant (relative to company values and customer needs), and time-bound.
A number of steps would need to be taken to achieve this goal, including training staff, updating software tools, and possibly recruiting new team members for ongoing support. Regular internal reviews and customer questionnaires would be used to monitor progress. This would allow our company to not only monitor whether it is on track to achieve its stated goal, but also identify areas for further improvement. This approach would help us maintain a competitive advantage while strengthening relationships with existing and potential customers.
In the following paragraphs, we'll present some tips to help you in the process of setting SMART goals.
One of the best ways to get started with setting SMART goals is to keep them simple. Complicated goals can not only be difficult to achieve, but also demotivating. Focus on what's most important to you and take one step at a time.
When setting goals, it is important to know your own limits. This includes understanding your abilities, resources and time constraints. This way, you will set goals that are challenging, yet realistic and achievable.
Recording your goals is essential to achieving them successfully. A written form gives you a clear overview and serves as a constant reminder of your ambitions. This can be in the form of a digital document, a task management app or a traditional paper diary.
While it's good to have clearly defined goals, it's also important to be flexible. Life is full of unexpected obstacles and opportunities. Flexibility allows you to react quickly to new situations and adjust your goals to keep them relevant and achievable.
The SMART method provides you with a tool to set specific goals and how to systematically monitor and evaluate them. It's not just about "what" you want to achieve, but also "how" and "when". It is a process of learning and adaptation. Once you start using the SMART method in your organization or in your personal life, you will find that you not only get better at achieving your goals, but you also become more effective at decision making and planning.
So it's not just about reaching a goal and moving on to the next one. It's about becoming better at what you do and how you do it. And that's a journey that has no end. Every goal achieved is a new beginning, a new opportunity for further growth and improvement. Now it's up to you to try and apply the SMART method and use it as a tool to achieve your dreams and ambitions.