How to Set SMART Goals and Attain Success of Olympic Proportions

What keeps the Olympian pushing forward when he’s drained or the outcome looks grim? Stamina and perseverance certainly play a role in it, but we all have a limited amount of willpower. That, alone, cannot help a person achieve gold-medal status.

The fact is, these athletes train hard and they work every day. The Olympics only allow them to showcase what they’ve accomplished. The other thing they do is to set goals, so that when they do compete, they’re ready. The right goals can help your employees achieve success. Here are some tips on goal setting.

S-M-A-R-T Goals Will Help Your Employees Bring Home the Gold!

  • Specific: The first step to setting goals well is to make them specific. For example, setting, “Improve employee morale” isn’t specific enough to help you. You still don’t know where to start or what it is that you’re going to do. You need to decide what step you’re going to take that will accomplish the task. “Teach employees the SMART method to improve morale” is better. An Olympiad may set his goal to train for two hours every day or to run a race in a specific amount of time.
  • Measurable: How can you tell if you’re successful? In this case, you could do a dry run with your employees and ask them to write down their goals for a week, but not give them tips on how to achieve them. At the end of the week, find out what they accomplished and how they feel about work. The next week, focus on SMART training and ask about accomplishments and attitudes. If you already see the value of SMART and know your employees will, too, you could set a goal of 90% compliance.
  • Achievable: It’s important to set realistic goals, so the staff can feel the high of success. Maybe your staff can’t boost sales by $500 per day, but they can increase it by $200. Go for the lower goal they can meet and increase it over time. You can also set goals that focus on a specific item. Rather than the main goal of revenue, perhaps set a weekly goal of bringing in five new customers each.
  • Relevant: It’s equally important that employees see the value in what they’re doing and how it relates to their overall success. For example, an HR manager could list “Buy a cake once a month” in her “improve morale” list. That’s great, but how does that cake actually translate into improving morale? Ordinarily, it wouldn’t. However, if that cake recognizes birthdays, company anniversaries, and similar milestones for specific employees, it absolutely will impact the office attitude.
  • Time-Bound: Making goals time-bound goes hand-in-hand with measuring them. You must have an end-date set in order to be able to measure the goal, as well as to keep the employee working towards it. You can set goals by day, week, month, or whatever’s appropriate, but be wary of long-term goals. These must be broken up into actionable stages with smaller milestones.

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