How to Set SMART Goals at Work.
Make more sales. Get the promotion. Connect with more leads. We all have goals at work. While some seem to reach their goals with ease, others seem to never leave the starting line. Using SMART goals at work is one way to even the playing field and help everyone move forward in their careers.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals check off the following criteria:
- Specific: SMART goals are as specific as possible. A goal that is vague or without clear definition is not easy to determine if it has been achieved.
- Measurable: A SMART goal is easily measured. Knowing when you’ve reached the halfway point or when you’re just one more step away from success helps keep you motivated.
- Attainable: Setting a goal that’s impossible to achieve sounds silly but it can happen. A SMART goal is always achievable, so while it’s still challenging, it’s also not impossible.
- Relevant: How does the progress and outcome of the goal affect those involved? Feeling connected to a goal is an important step of the SMART goal process.
- Timely: A goal with a seemingly nonexistent deadline can leave it sitting on a proverbial shelf. But a goal with an achievable yet challenging deadline keeps the goal in the forefront and boosts motivation.
The difference between a standard goal and a SMART goal is in the details.
Benefits of SMART Goals at Work
There are several benefits that come along with incorporating SMART goals in the workplace. At the same time, there are also pitfalls to be aware of. Here are a few ways SMART goals make a difference
- Improved planning skills – Setting SMART goals helps teach strategic planning skills. A strong planner is efficient with a strong sense of direction and less likely to be bogged down by stress.
- Ability to see past today – The progress of a SMART goal is easily tracked. This makes it easier to see the past, present, and future of a goal. With practice, it becomes easier to spot future issues and avoid them all while remaining motivated by being able to envision the final outcome.
- Higher success rates – Overall, those who understand goal planning and completion have better success rates. These skills aren’t limited to the workplace either, so success is achieved on a personal level as well
While learning how to plan and achieve SMART goals leads to stronger life skills and overall success, some can succumb to what’s known as an overzealous goal lifestyle.
Obsessive behavior related to goal progress and milestones can be dangerous to one’s relationships, stress levels, and overall health. Make sure goals are achieved in a balanced and healthy manner.
Examples of SMART Goals at Work
SMART goals can be utilized by managers, teams, or individual employees. Here are a few inspirational examples.
A manager wants to improve his company’s benefits package. He wants the new benefits to boost morale and lessen turnover. He sets a deadline of two months, works with a benefits group, and uses company feedback to track his progress.
S – improve benefits
M – employee feedback
A – with professional assistance
R – boost morale
T – two months
A team has been assigned a goal of designing a sales funnel for their company’s new software product. They have broken down their task into several milestones, assigned tasks based on individual skills, and have a project leader to ensure they don’t fall off track. The new product will help the team create strong relationships with current and new customers and they have a deadline of one month before it launches.
S – sales funnel
M – milestones
A – broken down by skill set
R – strong relationships
T – one month
An entry-level employee is ready to take their career to the next level. After checking to make sure a position will be available and that she meets the requirements, she sets a specific goal of receiving a promotion to a mid-level position by the end of the year. To do this, she’ll be training with her supervisor.
S – receive promotion
M – training
A – requirements met
R – improved career
T – end of year
What would these goals look like without the SMART technique? The manager might not make time to expand his benefits package and experience massive turnover as a competitor beats him to the punch. The team might miss the launch deadline and the employee might waste a year sitting and waiting for a promotion instead of asking for the training.
They say that the harder you work for something, the better you’ll feel once you achieve it. But sometimes it’s better to work smarter instead of harder. Both management and employees are using SMART goals at work to make the impossible happen. Are you ready to join them?