July 4th is here– where has the time gone? Did you achieve your goals?
The first six months of 2010 have come and gone! Where have they gone, you ask? Gosh, I don’t know is the answer, however, gone they are– never to be back again. OK, now what? What do you need to do in the second half of the year that perhaps, was not done in the first half?
First, let’s review the goals that we discussed in December-January? Oops, you mean that even though we addressed goals for the new year, you forgot to write any of them down? Well, OK, that has happened before. However, this is a good time to make goals for the next six months, culminating with the end of the year. At that time, you should have a great foundation in which to develop new goals for 2011.
Goals need to be SMART– Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). Each goal needs to be specific; well defined and identified and understood. The goal must be measurable– what goal characteristics can be specifically measured. For example, increase in sales, decrease in safety violations, decrease in damaged packages, etc. No goal is valid if it is not attainable. There is nothing wrong with a “Stretch” goal, however, if your sales were only $450,000 for the second half of last year, to set a goal of $4.5 Million for the remaining six months of this year may be unattainable. A much more realistic goal might be to set the remaining six month goal at $600,000. This would be an increase of 33% over last year, which, is probably also unattainable. A much more realistic goal may be to have a goal of $495,000 for the last 6 months of the year. This yields a 10% increase in sales over same period last year–which is actually very, very robust! Timeliness is another factor which must be addressed in the goal setting phase. If indeed the bulk of your sales are achieved in the first quarter of the year, to set a super high goal for the last six months would be considered to be untimely.
Goal setting is not a complicated or difficult task. Having good goals allows you to maintain focus on your business, as well as provide strategic direction for your firm. Additionally, establishing the goals, posting them throughout the workplace along with specific measurement criterion allows you to inform all of your staff on how the business is performing.
Most employees want to know how the business is performing–establishing goals and measuring the companies performance against the goals shows how the company is doing. Interestingly, if goal attainment is difficult, not well understood or does not make sense to the employees, what you have learned is that there is a communications error between you and your staff.
Think about what goals you wish to achieve between now and the end of the year. Develop/Establish 3-5 goals, use the SMART criterion and post these goals throughout the workplace. Measure the goals constantly and see how your firm is performing. If nothing else, you will have a much better idea of what goals to set and establish for year 2011.