Goals are essential to life because they provide us with a sense of direction, motivation and focus. When you establish an objective for yourself, you are setting up a target for which to aim. A SMART goal is a tool to help guide goal setting. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. A SMART goal integrates these criteria to help you and your team focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goals.
Help Your Team Achieve SMART Goals This Year
Goals are effective only if they are specific. So we dedicate our first letter to addressing the details. A specific goal should answer questions like:
- What will it accomplish?
- Who is responsible for it?
- What are the steps to achieve it?
When you critically think through prompts like these, it will help you set specific goals. These goals will describe what you are aiming for while putting it in the necessary context.
A goal must have verifiable numbers. It must be measurable. When you quantify goals, you make it easier to track your progress toward the goal.
Goals should empower your team. Your goals must be achievable. This point in the process is the time when you get a reality check. Is your goal reasonable? Do you believe it is something that your team can accomplish? Consider any limitations that may stand in the way of reaching the goal.
When setting a goal for your team, attach a benefit of reaching the goal. This step is the time to evaluate why the goal is essential to your organization. When you identify your key benefit, assimilate it into the goal so your team will see the larger picture.
Goals need to be time-bound and have a deadline. This stage is another opportunity to gauge success. It is imperative that you and your team members be on the same page about reaching a goal.
Implementing SMART Goals
As the manager, you must make yourself available to your team. Make sure that lines of communication stay open and meet regularly with your team members. Communication will help you evaluate their progress and ensure that they are going in the right direction. You want your team to feel like you are part of their support system.
Get feedback from your team members throughout the SMART goals process. To achieve success, everyone must be comfortable communicating with open and honest dialogue. As the team leader, be willing to make adjustments according to your team members’ feedback. Talk about what is working and what is not. Consider changes for next time. Do not give too much attention to the result. Although the outcome is important, the process to achieve it must also receive an assessment.
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