A framework to set SMART goals and how to write them
SMART goals are – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound. Each of these components ensure that the team builds a measurable goal that outlines what needs to be accomplished, by when and how will you know that you are successful. While creating SMART goals, the team is forced to think through the resources needed to achieve the goals, mechanisms to track progress and create milestones.
Let’s delve deeper into the different elements of a SMART goal –
Your goals need to be precise and should clearly outline what is it that you would like to achieve. This will help you focus your efforts and guide your roadmap to accomplish the goal. A few prompts to help you create a specific goal are:
1. Why is this goal important?
2. How will you accomplish this goal?
3. What limitations does this goal have?
4. What resources are required to achieve this goal?
Once you have defined the specifics of what needs to be accomplished and your end objective, you now need to focus on identifying metrics that will help you track your goal and define its success. This ensures that your goal remains objective and at any given point, you can track how far you are from success. This will help you stay motivated and know when to course correct, if needed. A measurable goal answers the following questions:
1. How will you know your goal is complete?
2. In what quantity do you want to achieve this goal?
3. How far are you from the goal?
While it is a good practice to take goals that make us slightly uncomfortable and push us outside our comfort zone, they still need to be realistic and achievable in the defined time frame. A few prompts to help you set achievable goals are:
1. What do you need to achieve this goal?
2. Do you have the skillset required to achieve this goal? If not, can you obtain the skill set?
3. If you had everything needed to achieve the goal, how much time will it take you?
Even if your team has the capabilities to achieve a certain goal, that doesn’t mean that it should be achieved. Before taking up a goal, it is important to ensure that the goal is relevant for you and aligns well with your company’s or organization’s objectives. A few questions to identify if your goal is relevant are:
1. Why are we taking this goal?
2. How will this goal drive my company’s objectives?
3. What is the business impact of this goal?
Every goal should have a deadline so that you have a target date by when you are expected to complete this goal. You then work backwards from this target date to create a roadmap for your project and identify critical milestones. However, it is important to ensure that your target date is realistic. A few prompts to help you set realistic timelines are:
1. How certain are we that we can achieve this goal within this period?
2. Are there any time-bound dependencies that we need to keep in mind?