Young children have the habit of asking “Why?” Often, as parents, it is easy to become annoyed with the nonstop stream of questions. “Daddy, why is the sky blue?” “Why do I have to go to bed now?” Why? Why? Why? If you’re a parent you know what I mean. Why did we ever stop? The simple question of “why?” teaches us, as parents, to better communicate with our children and teaches us, as adults, to not settle for a simple answer. Asking “why” made us functioning members of society, yet we gave up the habit. Why? It made us…
Most individual and organizational leaders have one thing in common. Both set goals and track their results. These are the people we see or organizations we watch who are leading the way toward a better tomorrow. Think about it… if we do not set goals– how do we know how we are doing, measuring up, progressing etc?
It is amazing how often I work with people or organizations who have no goals in place. If we do not know where we are going then we will never get there. Moreover, some people talk about goals but never take the first vital step– of putting their (verbal goals) into a written form and instead just talk about them. Research shows that when we put goals in writing we are far more successful in achieving them.
Other people set goals but they are too vague. For example, “we want to increase our sales this year.” What does that mean? To me, very little. This is why SMART goals are so important. Why? Because we can measure the goals we have set.
So what is a SMART goal? It is an acronym made up of five words that define how the goal. If you have heard of or never heard of a SMART goal this is a good time to review or learn. People use different words for this acronym but they all are getting at the same thing. SMART in nature.
So the goal above that was not specific could be done in a new way as a SMART goal. It would say: “Our goal is to increase North American sales 12% from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012.” Now that is specific and indeed measureable with time oriented dates. Note: the goal should always be relevant to what you seek to accomplish and something that is a stretch but is attainable.
So I ask are you a goal setter? Is your organization a goal setter? Do you set goals, put them in writing, and then measure and track them in order to improve?
If not there is no better time that now to begin. What do you think?
Ryan T. Sauers