Setting goals is an important and helpful activity to complete with your team. It’s always good to have one big, hairy, audacious goal, but it’s vital to have stepping stones on the way to that finish line.
The general standard for setting goals is to make them SMART. What does SMART stand for?
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable, Attainable
R – Relevant, Realistic
T – Timely
Specific details provide a goal with as much information as possible. Instead of “Save money” it should be something like, “Decrease spending in office supplies by 5% this quarter.”
Measurable ensures you attach a metric that can be measured. In the above example, a reduction of 5% is measurable.
Achievable indicates to set goals you can attain. It doesn’t mean they should be easily attained necessarily, but don’t place a goal so far out of reach, there’s no real chance of success.
Relevant describes the relation of your goal to larger goals, be they team, company or career. If the goals you set aren’t moving the needle in a way that’s meaningful to an organization, they likely aren’t necessary.
Timely means your goal has a deadline. In the initial example, the time frame to reduce office supply costs is within the quarter. This provides a time frame to measure the metric against, and at least one point to check on progress.
Following the SMART outline allows you and your team to create realistic and achievable goals. Sit down at the beginning of each month and map out the goals you want to reach by the end of that month. Or sit down each quarter if each month is too often for you and your team.
Reflecting on the path you took to achieve a certain goal will help your team develop, grow and learn for future tasks and goals.