Why do so many of us fail to achieve the goals we set out to achieve? Here are a few reasons why –
First, we struggle because our goals are too vague. Take this goal for example:
To improve employee engagement.
Second, we don’t know when we have achieved our goals. Third, we are unsure how to achieve our goals. Fourth, we set goals so lofty that we couldn’t possibly achieve them. Finally, we don’t give ourselves a deadline; therefore, making it too easy to continuing moving the goal and making it more difficult to hold ourselves accountable.
The GOOD NEWS is that goal setting is easy when you go about it in a SMART way.
Make your goal Specific. This means anyone should be able to read it and know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
Add a way to Measure if you have achieved your goal. Use a number (i.e. 3 times), a number out of a number (i.e. 4 out of 10 times), or a percentage (i.e. 25%). In the example of the vague goal above, ask yourself if you can measure “improve”. Probably not. If you make one employee happy have you achieved your goal? Unlikely. Try something like this:
To compliment every person on my team at least twice.
Know HOW you will make your goal happen – Action-Oriented. These are the action steps you will take to achieve your goal. How about adding this to the goal above:
To compliment every person on my team at least twice by walking around our department in the morning and the afternoon to note positive behavior.
The goal is getting better, yet we have to ask ourselves is it Realistic. Is it written so that you are setting yourself up for success? Goals should be challenging and stretch our abilities; they shouldn’t be defeating. Part of whether a goal is realistic is the amount of time you give yourself to accomplish it. That brings us to the last step in setting SMART goals.
Write your goal so that it is Timed. In other words, what is the deadline? Give it a day and specific date, instead of using something like “next Tuesday”, because next Tuesday is a moving target. Here is how to make it Timed:
To compliment every person on my team at least twice before Friday, November 11, 2011 by walking around our department in the morning and the afternoon to note positive behavior.
That is a pretty good goal, but we need to circle back to making your goal Realistic. If you have 30 people on your team, Friday, November 11, 2011 might be too soon. If that is the case, change the Measurement or the Time. You can change the
Measurement to one compliment per employee or you can change the deadline to Friday, November 25, 2011.
Use SMART goals to put yourself on the road to SUCCESS!