criteria, goal-setting process and possible errors

criteria, goal-setting process and possible errors

Why is it important to be able to correctly set work goals in the company? The fact is that goal setting is one of the main factors of team activity. Such a procedure allows you to clearly determine in which direction you are moving and what you want to achieve. A clear, well-defined goal will be a reference point that helps you make the right decisions and plan your actions.

Today we will talk about SMART technology and how it helps to correctly set goals in the company.

Goal setting is important in the workflow and for other reasons. It helps:

  • work harder, finding new ways to achieve the goal,

  • it is faster and easier to develop an action plan to achieve the goal,

  • focus on priorities, bringing the necessary tasks to the fore,

  • correctly determine the terms in which the result will be achieved.

The main point that should be taken into account in the goal is that the goal should be collective. This, of course, does not exclude the presence of individual goals, but they must all work to achieve a common goal. Specific and clear tasks will allow employees to focus on finding effective solutions and concentrate on the result as much as possible.

In this article, we will talk about the method of setting goals using the SMART technology: we will consider the features, share the algorithm and warn about possible errors.

SMART goal setting criteria

The very name of the method is an English abbreviation consisting of the first letters of the criteria that must be taken into account when setting goals:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Time bound

Let’s consider each of them in more detail:

Specific – concrete

The goal should be formulated in such a way that everyone understands it equally without the need to delve into the details. For this task must:

  • contain an exact answer to the question “what to do?” – For example, to increase the average check when ordering through the site;

  • have one specific result in mind, not several different ones: for example, increasing the average check is one goal, but increasing the average check and increasing sales are two different goals.

Measurable – measurable

The point is that the result should have criteria for KPI evaluation. For example, aims to “increase the average check by 30%”. If the check increases by 30%, then the task is 100% completed, and if by 15% – only half. This approach will help not only to assess how well the employees coped with the task, but also to set goals for the future, with new KPIs.

Achievable – attainable

A SMART goal should be set in realistic terms and based on objective indicators: for example, previous experience or average market figures.

It’s not a good idea to set a plan for sales that is three times higher than the previous month if their numbers were growing at about 20-30% per month.

In this case, the risk of not achieving the desired results and, moreover, demotivating the team will increase. At the same time, there is no need to underestimate the goals either. They need to be ambitious so that the company grows and the team develops their skills.

Relevant – significant

It is important that the goal corresponds to the global strategy and mission of the company. If the company is faced with the task of entering a new market, then each micro-goal (launching a campaign in social networks, collaboration with other brands, etc.) should bring the team closer to achieving the global task.

Time bound – limited by time

Optimal terms for SMART goals are three, six, or twelve months. If you choose a period that is too short, it will be difficult to achieve any significant results during this time. For too long, the goal may be forgotten, or it may lose its meaning altogether. Also, if you forget to set a deadline for a task, employees will postpone its completion and switch to others with clear time priorities.

Goal setting algorithm based on SMART technology

Goal setting according to this method is carried out in several stages:

Conducting research.

First, you need to study the product and the company, the market and competitors, as well as find problem areas and growth points (for example, the level of sales or employee motivation).

Formation of goals.

For each problem point, one goal with one achievable result should be set.

Checks goals for compliance with the SMART method.

To check, you need to ask the following questions in sequence:

  • Is the specific and precise formulation of the goal sufficient? Is there no double meaning or vague definitions?

  • By what KPIs will the result be evaluated?

  • Is it realistic to achieve the goal in the specified time and with the available resources?

  • How will achieving this goal help the business? Does it match the company’s strategy?

Appointment of executors.

Even if the goal is set for the whole team, you need to distribute colleagues in such a way that each employee is responsible for a certain stage and reports on the results. Otherwise, a situation may arise when colleagues will transfer responsibility to each other.

Setting deadlines and control points.

In addition to determining the final deadline, when working with large-scale tasks, it is allowed to set intermediate dates – it is easier to control the process of working on the task. In case the input data changes, it will be easier to adjust the timing and resources used.

Fixation of agreements.

The assigned task must be completed in text form, adding a deadline to its “card”. A working online organizer is suitable for this: Trello, Google Calendar or Jira.

Errors are possible when setting SMART goals

Since the technology of working with goals according to the SMART method is not simple and multi-stage, various mistakes can naturally be made in the process. Let’s consider them in more detail and tell you what to do to avoid them.

Exaggerated expectations

This problem is connected, first of all, with insufficiently clear and detailed setting of the goal. The manager’s task in this case is to explain everything so that everyone understands the mechanism of further actions correctly. It is also worth additionally discussing the terms of the task and the tools that will be needed to solve it.

In order to avoid such a problem, we advise you to ask the performers relevant questions in an open form.

Lack of flexibility

In the process of working on the task, the introductions may change — the budget is cut, part of the performers leave, or the company’s strategy changes as a whole. It is important for the project manager to track such changes in a timely manner and to be able to build goals and work processes. In some cases, the assigned task will have to be abandoned altogether. For example, the company is working on using local software with additional servers and its own support service, and at some point it becomes clear that it is cheaper and easier to use a cloud server by renting it from a third-party company.

Lack of motivation

Sometimes it happens that even with a clearly formulated goal and deadlines, employees lack motivation to complete the task – this happens if they do not see any tangible benefits in the result. In this case, it is recommended to allocate a bonus for achieving the goal or part of it.

Many different purposes in one

It is better to divide a too voluminous task into several small ones and distribute them among different employees, and not to give it all to one person.

Unrealistic terms

As we have already said, the deadline for completing the task should be realistic — you should not give two weeks to complete a process that previously took two or three months. In addition, when setting the terms of the task, we recommend setting aside additional time in case of force majeure – at least a couple of weeks.

We hope you find this goal setting guide helpful. SMART goal setting improves the planning of work processes, increases the motivation of employees and contributes to the successful completion of projects. This, in turn, creates the basis for the sustainable development of the enterprise in the modern dynamic environment.

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