May 8, 2014

Give Your SMART Goals Meaning

Companies naturally gravitate towards numeric goals:

  • $50 million in 5 years
  • 30% marketshare in 10 years
  • 25% growth year-over-year

They have well defined targets, but their goals lack meaning. Where is the aspirational quality of “$50 million in 5”? What does being a $50 million company mean for your customers? Why should anyone care?

Effective goals are not only specific, they are aspirational.

SMART Goals

SMART is a mnemonic device for creating effective goals. Good business goals are:

Specific: They focus on a specific area of your organization and business.
Measurable: The goal can be measured, and you can quantify progress.
Assignable: You can delegate or assign tasks, roles and responsibilities to accomplish the goal.
Realistic: Your company can realistically achieve the goal with its available resources.
Time-related: There is a clear timeframe for the goal. You have a beginning, middle and end date.

SMART Goals are achievable and actionable, and that’s very powerful. You can rally your team around SMART Goals, and focus their resources on targeted outcomes.

But SMART Goals are lacking an aspirational quality. They are missing the “Why?” ingredient.

Aspirations drive actions

The problem with isolated numeric goals, like “grow to $50 million in 5 years,” is they don’t inform your team on how to act.

Take your big corporate goals, and answer three questions:

  1. What will achieving this milestone mean for your customers?
  2. How will achieving this goal change your industry, and the way business is conducted?
  3. Why is it important for your company to reach this goal?

These are the questions your employees need answers for. The numeric goal may sound great at a company meeting, but its residual impact is limited. The number does not engage your people’s hearts. It does not tell them how to act, or why they should change their behaviors.

Your team needs to understand what it means to achieve the goal. They need to know why their contributions matter.

Add a Y to SMART

There is a missing ingredient in the SMART mnemonic device. It’s missing the “why.”

Create SMARTY Goals for your company. Give your team aspirational goals that not only support your company’s growth, but shape your brand.

The most effective corporate goals combine a numeric target with an aspirational vision. They engage both your team’s hearts and minds, and can propel them to greater and greater heights.

Are your goals SMARTY?

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