Specifically, it is a 1-3 year action statement.
Let’s address the biggest problems we have with goals, objectives, cornerstones, priorities, whatever you want to call them.
We have a problem with semantics which we want to cut out because we are talking about goal setting.
Right now you can call it whatever you want to, but for this blog,
we will use the definition of the word goal about how you will develop an effective “1-3 year action statement.”
The first thing you have to do is make sure you are actually starting with a verb such as “increasing”. A good goal actually says what dial on your management dashboard that you are trying to move such as “increasing”, “decreasing”, “reducing”.
The goal of “maintaining” is ok if you actually just want to articulate that you are just trying to do something, but you’re not necessarily just trying to change it. However, most of the time in strategy development you are trying to change something; you are trying to see movement, so again what movement are you trying to see?
The next thing that is important when you are setting good goals is to make sure that they are SMART (this is an acronym). What does it stand for?
(A)ctionable – what does this mean? It means that when you read it in a year from now you will remember what you wrote and you can do something about it
(R)esponsible – who is doing it?
(T)ime bound – when is it going to get done?
An important thing when you are setting goals is to understand how people are going to help you get this goal accomplished, therefore by breaking a goal down you make sure everybody (who needs to) has a piece if it which they can actually accomplish.
OK, let’s look at an example of a lofty SMART organization wide-goal and then break it down into how you will actually execute it. This goal will be delegated to a senior manager and team member - Tom. The goal is:
“Increase customer satisfaction by 10% by 31st December 2015”.
Now let us look at the characteristics of this goal. It is:-
S(specific) as it clearly has the verb “increase”
M(easurable) as it clearly says by “10%”
A(ctionable) as a year from now it said what you wanted to do
R(esponsible). It clearly says that “Tom” is responsible for the completion of this goal.
T(ime bound) as it shows that this goal is to be completed by the 31st December.
How does Tom proceed to achieve this goal?
Tom will have to engage his junior team members from two (2) departments that impact customer satisfaction, they are ‘Customer Service’ and ‘IT’.
He then has to engage them into cascading this goal that is one level deeper and palatable for them to manage so that they are accountable. This could be to “reduce errors to 1 from every 100 complaints’ and “resolve issue tickets within 24hrs” respectively.
Now, within each department (for instance in Customer Service) there maybe a couple of people that will help those junior managers ‘reduce errors to 1 for every 100 complaints’.
In closing, my tip relating to setting good goals is to make sure that you really think about how does it go from the big picture to the small picture and making sure that when you articulate it you are actually very specific about identifying if its SMART.