You have just finished a very successful Quarterly Planning Session with your team, and now it is time to get to work. Your team is fired up and completely aligned with the priorities for the quarter - or are they? Ensure that your team is setting SMART goals so that there are no unexpected surprises at the end of the quarter that leave you scratching your head and asking yourself “What happened?”
Setting Effective SMART goals:
Specific – Be as specific and as clear as possible when setting your goals for the quarter. Use action verbs like "develop," "create," "implement," or "establish" to describe the specific thing that needs to get done. Instead of stating “Cost Savings,” be specific and state, “Create plan to reduce cost by $50,000 in Production by the end of the quarter.” Now, your team knows exactly what they are shooting for and there is no ambiguity.
Measurable – How are you going to measure your goals? What are you trying to accomplish in the next 90 days? What would be unacceptable? It is key to make your success criteria as measurable as possible and remove any subjectivity from the equation so that your team has complete alignment. Make your success criteria results focused.
At Rhythm Systems, we use a Red, Yellow, Green approach to measure our success in our weekly adjustment meetings. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are determining your success criteria:
Green = What does success look like at the end of the quarter? What are you looking to accomplish? Be specific.
Red = What is failure or unacceptable at the end of the quarter? If the goal were not reached, what would be the minimum that you would accept before there were any consequences?
Super Green = What is your stretch goal at the end of the quarter? What can your “A players” shoot for after you have achieved your green goal?
Yellow = To keep things simple, Yellow is between Red and Green.
Attainable – Your goals are set; the next question to ask yourself is “Does my team have the right resources/tools/infrastructure to attain the goals we have set?” You want to set your team up for success and ensure that the goals can be reached. If you create goals that are unattainable, this can discourage your team and leave them feeling stuck.
Realistic – Have you set realistic goals for the quarter? Many times we are unrealistic with our time and end up setting our goals without thinking through all the action items needed. Avoid this scenario by thinking through your action items. Write down your action items, assign who is responsible for each item, and add a date for when the action item is due. You will quickly see if you have made a realistic goal or discover that there is more to be done than expected. Break down your goal into realistic chunks.
Timely - Is your goal achievable in the next 90 days? Be honest with your time and think through what you can physically do in the next 90 days. Everyone on the team should account for their day job responsibilities and have a clear picture of how much time you have available to dedicate to reaching your green goals. If the goal can be achieved in less than 90 days, be sure to include a due date.
Put your priorities to the test and see if you have set SMART goals for your team. You will finish the quarter with more focus and alignment – guaranteed.
For all our Rhythm Clients, setup a Quarterly Plan Review call with your coach to ensure that your team has SMART goals so that you won’t be blindsided at the end of the quarter. Read our great blog post on effective goal setting (infographic) to learn more.
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