Have You Heard Of The SMART System Of Goal Setting?
People struggle with setting goals. It seems like a daunting task. This is largely because they lack the proper knowledge to do so. After all, not everyone goes to management school. Even those that do are not always as prepared as they should be.
This may be the reason why management consultant, Peter Drucker, came up with a system as part of his Management By Objectives (MBO). This system is essentially the SMART Goal setting system. If you are not familiar with SMART, it is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related. Each component deals with a part of goal setting.
Some have interpreted the letters in different ways. That’s okay as long as there is agreement. If you are using the acronym for your own purposes, use what makes the most sense to you and what works best.
To have a specific goal, imagine creating a video with you telling the viewers what your goal is about. They should be able to comprehend your goal without any questions. The more specific you can get, the better the overall goal setting process will be. For example, suppose you specify that you want more money as a goal. Would this draw questions if you presented this goal as it is? If the answer is yes, then you need further refinement.
When you figure out your goals, the next step is to understand how to measure them. General goals will be difficult to measure, whereas specific goals will be easier. This is the part that can help you be accountable for meeting your goals.
For a goal to be assignable, you need to be able to describe it in a way that you can pass it off to someone else. They should be able to run with it, and not get too stuck on the details.
Your goals should be realistic. People often get overzealous when setting their goals. They believe they should push themselves. Non-realistic goals will frustrate you and make you fail when trying to accomplish them. Of course, you don’t want to set goals that are too easy that you don’t see any growth.
You need to set time frames for your goals. Otherwise, you will come up with excuses to push them off, and you will never get them completed. The best way to do this is to break up your goals into tasks, and then come up with milestones for each of those tasks.
How To Overcome The Flaws With SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym. Those five letters mean different things to different people or groups. While many of the replacements are similar, if everyone who relies on them is not on board, this can cause problems with a project or plan.
For instance, some reference the “A” in the acronym, as achievable. That’s a great aspect of any project to have. If it is not achievable, there is no way a goal or task will get accomplished. However, there are others who consider the “A” as standing for agreement. That is not similar to achievable. And it’s one thing to have achievable goals, but if not everyone on the team is in agreement, that will cause problems down the line.
Another example is the “M” which many believe stands for measurable. That is a worthy aspect of any goal. If you can’t measure your goals, you won’t know when you are successful with them. The “M” can also mean motivational. If you use motivational instead of measurable, somehow you won’t be as inclined to measure how you are doing. It may happen, but there is nothing to guarantee that. This is why people use guidelines such as SMART in the first place.
Some will use rewarding as the “R” component. When you accomplish your goals, that will be the reward. So, it’s difficult to imagine what people come up with when they use this as part of the acronym.
You can come up with many replacements for all the letters. When you search online, you will see several variations on what it means. This makes it tougher to use it as a concrete guideline. This confusion can cause the acronym to suffer in its effectiveness.
The key when using a system such as this is to come up with the meaning for each that makes sense. This will depend on who is involved in the process. If you are the only one affected by the outcome, then you have some flexibilities in what the definition should be. If you are using it as part of a team, however, you will need to define it in a more concrete manner. If you allow for any ambiguity, this can delay or even derail your project.
Even within a team, you have some flexibility. However, all changes should be communicated to the team. It is going to affect them which means they have the right to know.
Are You Specific Enough With Your Goals?
You may recall the goal acronym Called SMART. The “S” stands for specific. The others are measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. If you don’t get the specific component right from the start, it will set you off in the wrong direction. This is the beacon of your goal navigation if you will. If your beacon is going south when you meant to go north, you can guess things will not turn out as planned.
For a goal to be specific, there should be no ambiguity. For instance, if someone states they want to run a business as their goal, would this be enough for them to hit the ground running? It’s highly doubtful.
What kind of business do they want to run? If you are good at advertising and you buy an accounting business, you probably are going to struggle getting this concept to fly. Of course, you could hire talented people who know the accounting side of the business.
On the other hand, if you decided you were going to start a Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising agency that helps clients increase their return on investments with Adwords, this is much closer to having a solid goal that is specific. You may be able to refine it even further. Perhaps, the businesses that you target are only B2B, etc. This is much more specific than the higher level PPC advertising to anyone you can find.
Is there room to get more specific with your goals? There usually is, but you don’t want to get so specific that you are only targeting a few clients based on your criteria. This is dangerous as those clients can pull the plug at a moment’s notice. However, you may decide that you want to target businesses who have large advertising budgets, etc. You will have more businesses to work from when you do this.
You are certainly welcome to expand your goals for your business as you see fit. After you become established, you may find smaller businesses and individuals approaching you about running their PPC campaigns. This is great, and as long as you have the resources to handle this new business, you should welcome it.
If you want to know how specific you should be, you should be able to explain your goal to a friend in a way where they don’t need much explanation of your concept. If you find they have a ton of questions or need clarification, this is an indication that further refinement of your goals is needed.
Of course, you will certainly be aware that setting and achieving goals requires a lot of self-discipline, so if you want to learn about growing your own self-discipline then download the featured resource below which is a free report all about the power of self-discipline; download it, read it and take action 😊