We write a lot about goals in this blog, and there is a good reason: They are the foundation of everything your business or organization does. That may sound a little grandiose, but it’s true. If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, how do you even begin to understand the path you need to follow? And – related question – how can you discern whether you are succeeding?
Let’s take a look at a quick list of benefits for goal writing, then we can get into best practices.
Benefits of Goal Writing
- Goals keep you moving forward.
- Goals indicate how to spend your time.
- More importantly, they show you where to NOT expend your efforts.
- Goal writing gets everyone on the same page.
- Goals help you measure success.
- Goals quickly show you what you need to change.
- Goal writing saves time and money because you aren’t focused on reactive work, you are busy moving forward.
- Goals eliminate
- Goal writing sets time frames that create a sense of urgency throughout, not a panic at deadline.
- Goal writing encourages Teams have to be realistic about what it can accomplish.
We all understand the importance of goals and making them official by writing them down.
Here are some keys to being successful when setting goals
- Be realistic but optimistic. Everyone loves setting – and achieving stretch goals – but you don’t want to overwork your staff because you shot for the moon. Setting smaller, realistic goals in the short term will allow workers to make progress without burning out.
- Understand the difference between value and return on investment. Many of your goals will require you to invest in marketing campaigns or infrastructure changes. Just because you won’t be able to assign each investment a specific ROI dollar amount doesn’t mean the investment won’t be valuable. Again, if it achieves the goal, whether that is brand awareness, customer engagement or capital improvements, the value is clear.
- Consider costs: Your organization might want to increase sales by 30% percent, but that usually can’t be done without a significant expenditure on equipment, staffing or space. Your goals should match your financial situation.
- Set both short- and long-term goals: It’s easier to keep your team motivated toward achieving a goal if you have simpler short-term aims. Plus, short-term goals provide the opportunity to adjust the long-term outlook.
- Ask for input: Your boots-on-the-ground staff will likely be able to offer insight on realistic goal setting and priorities that executives might not have considered. Getting input from various staff members in goal writing also gets everyone on board with working toward the goals.
- Don’t set contradictory goals: If the aim is to increase customer satisfaction, cutting customer service agents to increase the profit margin is not going to help. These two goals are not compatible, so adjustments should be made.
- Build in rewards for success. The enthusiasm among your staff for continued achievement can be stymied if you don’t take a moment to celebrate successes. Reward the key team members when a goal is met before heaping on a new set of milestones to reach. Build the cost of these celebrations into your fiscal budget.
These guidelines for careful goal writing should help any company or organization with the process. Goal writing is the first step in accomplishing success in the future. Also, don’t forget that adjustments are OK if the landscape changes. You can amend your goals at any time by following these best practices as well.