Businesses without goals often lack direction. Without setting goals, it can be difficult for a business’s employees to understand exactly what is expected of them and what they need to do to achieve success.
However, most businesses unfortunately do not set goals. A study from a few years ago showed that over 80% of small business owners reported that they did not set or track goals for their companies. The study also showed that 77% of those business owners hadn’t yet achieved their ideal vision for where they wanted their businesses to be.
Coincidence? Unlikely. Goals help lead to success. Now, businesses and teams still need to put in the work, of course, but goals provide a path and direction for the effort success requires. Goals are also a way to keep everyone accountable.
Even if a business regularly establishes goals, there may still be room for improvement in how those goals are established and how bench marks toward reaching those goals are defined. That can be especially true in how teams communicate with each other on what needs to happen for their shared goals to be reached.
Ready to make 2020 your team’s best year yet? Here is how to set achievable goals so that you can hopefully increase performance and realize success this year.
Every business needs to know what it intends to achieve in the long-term. This is true on a team level, too. Many of these long-term or more visionary goals fall within four categories:
Short-term goals are what will lead up to any long-term goals that you have established. This is the road map for how your team is going to accomplish the more visionary goals.
Short-term goals should be S.M.A.R.T., which stands for specific , measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time specific. This is how people working together can make the best goals for the short-term.
Let’s dive in a little bit further.
SMART goals have to be specific, which means they must be crystal clear. Ask who should be involved, what is the desired result, when will it be achieved and why is this goal necessary.
These goals also must be measurable with actual data that reveals results. This leads right into action-oriented, which suggests the goals can only be accomplished through real action taken by people on your team.
The goals must be realistic and there needs to be a timeline to follow, too.
While you are working toward achieving short-term goals, which should lead to achieving long-term goals, you must keep track of the progress you and others are making.
Be sure to write down progress and check in with coworkers on how everything is going. If you aren’t able to meet face-to-face, then consider setting up a quick conference call. These meetings or calls should be held at regular intervals. How often is up to you, but it should be regularly enough that everyone feels up-to-date on goal progress.
One tip for tracking progress is to create milestones along the way that can either be rewarded or celebrated. This helps keep everyone motivated and moving forward.
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Even the best laid plans can go awry. This is definitely true for goals. That’s why businesses must always allow for flexibility.
If you find yourself in situations where plans are changing or the business’s focus is changing, then consider adjusting your goals to better fit these new directions. But even if a long-term goal remains the same, a short-term goal (or multiple short-term) may need to be adjusted here and there, especially if certain methods are leading to better performance and results than others.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with ensuring success by having goals that match with a business’s direction and priorities. What matters most is that you continue to set goals that empower those around you and keep everyone moving forward.
Everybody appreciates when their hard work and dedication is recognized. While setting out to accomplish goals, be sure to celebrate with your team whenever a goal is achieved.
This could be a simple, quick callout on a conference call or a more specific reward for larger goals. Both the individuals on your team and the team as a whole will appreciate the recognition for their successful efforts. Even small celebrations can recharge and re-motivate a team to keep pushing themselves toward checking additional goals off the list.
The best time to start setting goals, if you have not already, is now! Don’t put off goal-setting and planning sessions and don’t fall into the mental trap where you convince yourself it’s too late to set this week’s, month’s or year’s goals.
Get your team together ASAP to begin discussing and writing down short- and long-term goals for your business’s success in 2020.
Now that you are ready to set better goals for this year, consider finding a more enjoyable way for your team to communicate.
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