Harvard Business

There is something about the start of a new year that makes private individuals and businesses alike turn to thoughts of goal setting. There is something about the start of a new year that makes private individuals and businesses alike turn to thoughts of goal setting. Clearly, in both our business and our personal lives, having clearly defined goals is essential if we do not know where we want to go, then how will we know when we have arrived? More drumsi perhaps, how will we know we are not just wandering round in circles, aimlessly, achieving little? Ideally our goals should be s.m.a.r.t goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For example, let US assume we want to increase sales by 5% in a six-month period. This would appear to satisfy most of the S.M.A.R.T. criteria. It is specific, we have stated a precise increase in sales; It is measurable, clearly we months’ want whether or not we have succeeded; time know in six It is likely to be attainable, 5% does not sound unrealistic; and it is timely, our objective has a specific time-frame during which we intent to achieve it four out of five then, so far so good; But what about relevance? Business goals must be relevant not just to the business owner but so to his/her employees.

A Harvard Business school study, conducted in 2001 by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, found that only 7% of employees fully understood their company’s goals or their role in helping to achieve them. That leaves US with 93% of employees falling into the ‘wandering aimlessly’ category! The problem of how to ensure that our employees’ efforts are fully aligned with the company’s goals so begs the question of what strategies we should employ to achieve these goals. While a 5% increase in sales may be realistic, we still need a clearly defined, effective strategy to achieve this.

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