Goals and Goal Setting

Without a clear set of goals, it is difficult to go from Ok to Excellence. Goals are really targets or destinations and without then you don?t know where to aim or what direction to go.

How do you choose goals? Goals are very personal and specific to each person, business, task or whatever. The acronym SMART is often used to help people structure goals. If you are not familiar with the acronym it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Sensitive. This doesn?t really tell you anything about how to choose goals only the elements that are required for them to be effective and actionable.

With most of our journey through life whether it is related to our occupation, relationships, physical health, personal growth and on and on we have to think clearly about what we are trying to achieve. More specifically we need to think about what we want to achieve when and why. Most goals that are worth achieving are usually somewhere in the future so they require some solid thinking before they are defined.

The first step in defining a goal is to define why. If you establish a goal without defining why your effort toward achieving it will be drastically diminished because you will always be asking yourself, why. Let?s stay with goals related to your job or your business. Let?s say you have a goal to generate xxx amount of revenue in a defined period. What is the answer to the why associated with that goal? Is it associated with a growth need you have defined that is critical to supporting the financial success of the business or is it just a goal you grabbed out of the air? If this goal is relative to supporting a critical need of the business at the moment, then it seems to be relevant to a good why.

You have now established a specific revenue goal you want to achieve in a specific time frame and you have answered the why question. How will you measure success? Is the measurement your top line sales? You need to define what it is no matter what or you could be measuring the wrong thing. Assume for a moment that this goal is an annual goal and it is based on top line sales. The question then becomes how much top line sales revenue is needed in each period, day, week month, quarter to support achieving the annual goal. You have specifically defined your goals and how to measure success.

Have you considered whether this goal is achievable? You no doubt have your sales history and know your competition and the capability of your sales and marketing team. Are there any others issues you need to consider or additional data you need to gather to determine if this is an achievable goal? Does the rest of your team believe it?s a reasonable goal, have they bought in? In an organizational environment if you don?t have solid buy in by all the key contributors you chance of success diminishes.

Is your goal relevant? You reviewed this question when you established the why so you should be good to go on this point. This goal is also time sensitive so it meets all of the SMART criteria.

You are a long way from finished with doing the work you will need to do to assure that your likelihood of success is great. You will need to develop your action plans around who will do what when to move toward achieving this goal. Don?t ever establish a goal and fail to develop the relevant action plans.

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