You don’t get ahead in life by accident, (unless, of course, you’re a silver spoon slurping Kardashian). Us mere mortals need to set goals to propel ourselves forward.Not every goal we set actually helps though - poor ones can even be detrimental. Allow me to elaborate;
- Setting arbitrary goals such as ‘be happier’ and the like are far too ambiguous. They’ll only serve to remind you how dreadfully unhappy you are.
- Raising your high jump bar by three meters is almost guarantees you a ride in a paddy-wagon for steroid possession.
- Deciding to throw off thirty kilos by next Tuesday is a sure-fire way to end up dunking your third deep-fried mars-bar in nutella - tears streaming down your sticky cheeks as your treadmill buries itself deeper in dust.
Well perhaps we’re getting a little carried away - but all the same - if you’re setting goals, you need to do it properly. Doing it wrong can have dire consequences. This post will explain the gestalt of goal setting. We’ll show you how to make goals (or convert existing ones) into rocket fuel.
Setting S.M.A.R.T goal
There are a few different theories on the best way to set goals. A quick scout about on the Internet will reveal an excess of clever little acronyms guaranteed to change your life forever. Our favourite is S.M.A.R.T.S.M.A.R.T stands for; Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic and Time sensitive.It’s a pretty simple tool used by businesses and individuals alike to turn fuzzy desires into actionable plans for success. The process goes like this:Lets imagine you want to make more money – a pretty stock-standard, garden-variety desire for any business. We’ll refine that into a S.M.A.R.T goal.
- Specific: Your goal to simply ‘make more money’ is incredibly vague. If you walk into the meeting room and demand your employees simply ‘make money’, you might return from lunch to find them with a lemonade stand out the front of the office. You need to specify exactly how you intend to rake in the dollars. We’ll say you decide that you need more listings.
- Measurable: Numbers are an essential part of any business. Now you’ve resolved to find more listings, you need to decide how many. For this example’s sake, we’ll say you need another ten to turn over a solid profit.
- Assignable: Whose job is it to get them? Goals should be assignable to someone. Perhaps you hope to attract new listings through a new social media campaign? Hand this one over to your marketing department
- Realistic: A goal should be achievable - but challenging. Setting goals that are too easily achievable won’t positively affect the performance or motivation. Likewise, goals that are unrealistic don’t inspire much performance or motivation, and only serve to stress you out. Ten new listings is realistic, but maybe not in a single afternoon. Which leads us to -
- Time sensitive: Attaching a deadline to a goal is a great motivator. If a goal has no sense of urgency, it’s going to get lost in the day-to-day. Your ten new listings might be required by the end of the month, and this’ll give a good incentive to work hard to achieve the goal.
So now we’ve turned our desire to ‘make more money’ into ‘acquire ten more listings by the end of the month through networking and marketing activities.Much better.You could even break this down even further if the need struck you. There’s no harm in getting laser-focused. It would be wise to sit down with your marketing team and discuss exactly what needs to be done to make this goal happen. Plan concrete steps to show exactly what needs to be done.
Work with employees for the best goal setting
Setting goals with the help of your employees is fantastic business. If they understand their individual goals or tasks they’ll be far more engaged with their work. Goal setting is best when it’s collaborative.Much in the same way as someone without a map needs to stop and ask for directions, a person who doesn’t understand their duties more often than not culminates in them doing diddley-squat, unless they have a significant amount of supervision. When you know exactly what you’re doing its easy to correct your own actions without pulling over and asking a local.Keeping employees closely involved in the goal setting process also ensures they understand the broader company goals. An employee who is asked by their superior for input is going to be far more likely to strive for success. Wouldn’t you?Part Three, (the final installment of this omnibus of life-changing counsel), will keep you on track while you work to achieve your goals.