January 8, 2018

101: Setting goals

Ringing in 2018 means more than just resolving to go to the gym every morning or organizing your sock drawer. This time of year naturally lends itself to laying out the path for your company over the next 12 months. It's a perfect time to contemplate the past year and go in new directions or build on solid foundations. However, the time of year you focus on goal setting isn't as important as the fact you do it.

Set it in stone. "Increasing sales revenue" is not a goal, says Chuck Cohn at Forbes.com; it isn't remotely specific enough to accommodate a detailed strategy. A better goal would be "to increase Product X's revenue by 10 percent over the next six months." Cohn advises company leaders to then figure out what needs to happen. "Setting concrete goals, documenting them and reviewing them periodically can increase your chances of success by up to 95 percent," he writes.

Set S.M.A.R.T. objectives. Once the aforementioned concrete goals are in place, they need to be broken down into short-term objectives. Peter Vanden Bos at Inc.com describes use of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-specific. "Put a figure or value, such as a dollar amount or percentage, to the objective," to ensure the task is measurable, he writes, for example. For the goal's steps to be action-oriented, a company needs to lay out what tasks will be done by who, and when.

Celebrate along the way. "Set milestones and stop to celebrate each small success along the way. This will help you build momentum," writes Alyssa Gregory at TheBalance.com – momentum which is needed to incentivize you and your team as you close in on your goals.

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