Does it feel like something is holding you back like you are stuck in a rut, and no matter what you do you can’t seem to crawl your way out of it? Does the path from where you are to where you want to seem too daunting even to try?
Too often, many of us spend our lives treading water, never really accomplishing anything of importance, but if we had a clear focus and worked to accomplish our desires, the likelihood of achieving our goals increase.
The problem is that we are not setting SMART goals. While it is nice to dream big, those goals are often not reachable, leaving us overwhelmed or discouraged.
What is a SMART Goal?
Attributed to Peter Drucker, SMART is an acronym to help you create an achievable, realistic goal. It stands for:
Developing a Specific Goal
Your goals need to be detailed so that you can grasp it and work to achieve it. To help you develop it, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is that I want to accomplish?
- Why is important that I accomplish it?
- Who should be a part of it?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources are needed?
Remember the interview question, “where do you see yourself in five years?” Thinking of your goal in this manner is a great place to start.
Making Sure You Have a Measurable Goal
A good goal with have milestones or goal posts that you can use track your progress. Doing this helps you stay motivated and less likely to give up. It is like setting a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. You can have a goal to lose twenty pounds by spring, but with something that can track your progress incrementally, one pound per week, for example, you are more likely to stick with it.
A good goal should answer:
- How many?
- How much?
- How will I know when I reach the goal?
Making Sure You Have an Achievable Goal
Here you need to make sure your goal is grounded. While being CEO is a worthy challenge, is it an achievable goal? To help you refine your goal to something that you can achieve, answer these questions:
- How can the goal be accomplished?
- Is the goal realistic considering other factors such as financial means? If you need training, can you afford it? Are the necessary certifications or degrees?
- Can I control the factors needed to meet this goal?
Setting a Relevant Goal
Only you can make sure you accomplish your goal. That reason is why your goal needs to be relevant to you. If you don’t care about it, you are not going to reach for it. Ask yourself these questions, and see if you can say yes to them:
- Will it be worth it?
- Is the timing, right? Would something such as starting a family take precedence?
- Am I the best person to accomplish the goal? Does your skillset or personality match?
Setting a Time Frame for the Goal
A goal needs a target – a date when you want it to be accomplished. It allows you to prioritize your daily tasks so that they do not impede your progress in meeting your goal. To develop a good time frame, answer the following questions:
- When can I accomplish this can goal?
- What can I do a year from now?
- What can I do in a few months?
Putting It All Together
If you are in sales, a specific goal might be: Gain the experience, including certifications, and track record needed to become the sales director so that I can use my leadership skills. This goal is sensible and direct.
To make it more meaningful and measurable, you state it this way: Gain the experience, including certifications, and track recorded by exceeding company sales goals that are needed to become the sales director so that I can use my leadership skills. Now the there is a marker or goal post that can motivate the achievement: obtaining certifications and exceeding sales goals.
There is not a phrase to add to the goal to make it more achievable, but you can examine it to see if it is reasonable. The goal mentions certifications. Think about if completing that step will require taking courses. Are the courses affordable? Do they require a college degree if you don’t have one? Once you make sure that it is attainable, you can move to make sure it is relevant.
Being a sales leader means that you must love the sales process. Not everyone is made for sales. Will it be a realistic goal for you? Will you love it and put forth all your energy into it? If so, then, you should move on to giving it a time frame, but if not, consider if you really will exceed sales goals.
A time-bound goal has an end date. Make sure that it is a realistic period. In this instance, ten years would be enough time to move up the ladder to become a manager, regional manager before becoming sales director.
Now the goal looks like this: Gain the experience, including certifications, and track recorded by exceeding company sales goals that are needed to become the sales director in ten years so that I can use my leadership skills.
Think about your goals. What would a SMART goal look like for you? Would it be open up a second location or having several locations? Would it be getting an M.B.A. so that you can better lead your organization? Perhaps, it is a numerical goal such as having a million dollars in revenue for the fiscal year. Create your SMART goal and go for it!