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Operations Q&A: How 'SMART' are Your Goals?

Operations Q&A: How 'SMART' are Your Goals?

January 29, 2015

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.

© 2019 Gale Media, Inc.

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