What are SMART objectives?

In this video what I want to talk about is how SMART objectives work, and why they are absolutely essential when it comes to any kind of business planning. A lot of people have actually heard the term SMART objectives, and what I want to talk you through is the five different components and what they mean.

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The first part of SMART is actually specific. If you think about when you are coming up with a plan, if you’re really, really vague about it, you are much less likely to actually achieve it because you struggle to imagine it. When you’re vague about something, it’s much harder to imagine that thing happening. If you can’t imagine that thing happening, you just don’t have the motivation to actually make it happen, and a lot of the time you don’t have the specific pathway to actually make it happen. When you come up with an objective, you’ve got to be really, really detailed about exactly what you’re going to achieve with it.

For example, you could say, “On Wednesday afternoon, I want to go to a restaurant,” or otherwise, you could say, “On Wednesday afternoon, I want to go to this restaurant and eat this particular thing.” That’s the difference. If you make a plan where you say I’m going to go to this restaurant and eat that particular thing, you’re much more likely to make it happen because you can imagine it happening, so you have the motivation to do it, and you don’t have to think about all the details later on. You just execute the plan you’ve already got.

That second thing is measurable. If you are going to create an objective, you need to know it’s been achieved. Ultimately, to understand if an objective’s been achieved, you are going to have to understand how you’re going to measure it. If you come up with something where there is no yes/no answer, there is no specific quantity you can measure, or you don’t have a report that will measure that specific quantity, then you’ll never know if the objectives have been achieved or not. Because you don’t know if it’s been achieved or not, you won’t have the motivation to keep pushing it through to the end, or you won’t even know if you’ve got to the end, so it’s got to be measurable.

The third one, most people call it attainable, but I call it aligned. In the conventional sense, attainable means it’s got to be something that you can actually achieve, but the second one, the one after that, is realistic, so I think that there’s a duplication there. Why aligned is far more important though, is you’ve got to think about what your overall objectives are for your life and for your business. When you come up with a particular goal based on SMART system, then you have to be able to say, okay, well, this is my goal and objective under the SMART system, but how does it relate to my overall goals in life, and how does it relate to my overall goals in the business? You don’t want to be creating objectives that aren’t going to get you to the end result that you want in your business. It’s just counterproductive. It’ll take resources away from other areas you need them. That’s why an objective has to be aligned.

Okay. Realistic. This isn’t about not having any kind of ambition. What realistic means is, do you have the resources or are you capable of obtaining the resources within this timeframe that you’ve already specified to actually achieve this objective? That’s not saying you can’t achieve it. It’s just saying, do you have the resources at the moment to do it? If you don’t have the resources, then you may have to have another objective, which is to build those resources before you can actually tackle this objective.

The final one is time based. Time based is essentially saying, when are you going to get done for. An objective that has no timeframe, often never gets done because there’s no actual ambition or pressure on the business owner to go and make it happen.

Just a quick recap, we’ve got specific, measurable, aligned, realistic, and time based. Those are the components of a really good objective, a SMART objective. If you want to find out a bit more about that, if you want a bit more help setting your own objectives and business, then get in touch with us, and we’ll book in a meeting. Just reply to this video, and I will see you at the next video.

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