Operations Q&A: How ‘SMART’ are Your Goals?

Following a simple goal-setting formula can improve your chances for success.

Question: Have you set your 2015 SMART goals?

Answer: For many of us, each new year begins with promises to make changes. From a business perspective, many refer to these resolutions as SMART goals. No, not “smart” from a dictionary perspective, but goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART).

Bottom Line: Each of these characteristics is a step toward implementing successful change.

Specific: There is a huge difference between “I want our orders to be shipped timely.” and “I want 95 percent of our orders to go out the same day they are received.” Be as specific as you can, and include metrics wherever possible.

Measureable: There’s an old adage that says, “What gets measured, gets done.” Establishing concrete metrics for your goals allows for closer monitoring of the progress being made. “I want everyone to work hard,” can only be measured subjectively; “I want everyone to pull 25 orders a day” can be objectively measured.

Attainable: If someone doesn't have the authority to make something happen, it isn't going to happen. You can't remove dead stock from a warehouse if you don't have the authority to dump it or discount it. Set your goals with such clarity that you and your team can achieve results.

Realistic: If your goal is unrealistic, you will never achieve it. “Double your sales in the next two months,” is highly unrealistic. As a result, your sales reps will not even try. “Within the next 12 months increase your sales by 20 percent,” is a much more realistic goal – plus, it is specific and measureable.

Timely: If I were to instruct my staff to “Clean up that mess,” chances are there will be no urgency to get it done given their everyday responsibilities. However, if the directive was “Clean up that mess by Friday,” there is a much greater chance of it getting done. Including a timeframe for your goals creates a specific target for accountability and improves the chances of attainment.

Setting goals is a great first step, but achievement should be your ultimate objective. Following the SMART method won’t guarantee success, but it will give you a greater chance of realizing your objectives.

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to MDM.com
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to mdm.com, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on mdm.com
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.