As a leader, you’re responsible for much more than just managing your team. Your attitude and approach to work sets the tone for the rest of your company — from how you plan your goals to how you achieve them.
This means if you approach goal setting with vision, enthusiasm, and strategy, expect that your efforts will be mirrored by the rest of the company. But for leaders who miss the mark, it’s unlikely anyone down the line will pick up the slack.
The truth is…
Goal setting affects your entire company — which is why it’s so important for leaders to get crystal clear on the process.
We asked two Arootah consultants, Rodney Mueller, advisor and mentor, and Kirsten Franklin, esq., life and business coach, to share their approaches to goal setting.
Why Do We Set SMART Goals?
Let’s begin with Franklin’s approach to SMART goals.
If you’ve been in the corporate world for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of (and used) SMART goals. The acronym stands for:
The goals you set should check off each part of the acronym.
Franklin has this to say about SMART goals: “Rarely do we actually go through the exercise to draft them properly, and in part, that might be because we are not truly clear as to the why, how, and the benefits to our entire company for setting them.”
SMART goals aren’t just another hoop you should jump through because everyone else does. They need to serve a specific purpose for your team.
“Why even write a SMART goal?” asks Franklin. “So you and your team have a clear idea of what the ‘happy end result’ will look like and a clear and measurable way to see if you are on the right track to making that goal come to fruition.”
SMART goals make it easier to see your missed targets, what’s causing them, and how to locate areas of concern — which will ultimately allow you to fix the problems and get back to the process of achieving the goal.
SMART Goals: Strength in the Details
Understanding the details of your goal and how they’ll be accomplished makes it easier for you and your team to achieve the goal. To get there, let’s briefly recap the purpose for each element of a SMART Goal.
Getting as specific as possible helps you narrow down the path to achieving your goals. Franklin offers the following advice for getting specific.
“Ask yourself several questions: What exactly am I trying to accomplish? Why do I want to achieve this goal? Who is necessary to achieve this goal (teams, people, departments, etc.)? What’s the deadline to achieve this goal and what’s attached to that deadline (meaning is this deadline relevant for other goals to be achieved or is it completely independent of other aims of the company)?”
Making a goal measurable means drafting the major milestones to achieving the goal.
“Minimum, I like to find five major steps or more and they should involve a number! That is the key… what are the KPIs you’re setting for this goal?” Franklin says.
“We want the goal to be achievable but also challenging. You should feel stretched when pursuing this goal, but not so much so that it becomes unrealistic and leads to burnout,” she adds.
Each goal should be in alignment with the company’s objectives. Look at the big picture and major objectives of the company.
Franklin says to simply ask, “How does achieving this goal help us reach that objective?” If it doesn’t in any way, you should question whether your goal is relevant and reevaluate.
A deadline is absolutely necessary to achieve a goal.
“First, it motivates and brings clarity to the team about when they need to get things done in order to achieve this goal,” says Franklin. “But beyond just setting a deadline again, really step back and see the big picture. If achieving this goal is being leveraged to achieve more, when would this need to be done by so that other things can be accomplished? Is that deadline realistic?”
An Alternative to SMART Goal Setting
If you’re a leader who’s been goal setting for years, you may find yourself in need of a change.
When goal setting works and you get great results, that should be the end of it — right? However, many leaders find they need an additional element to be completely satisfied in their goal setting process: fulfillment.
Mueller offers some insight on his approach to goal setting, called “Perfect Aim™.”
“Perfect Aim is about unlocking the most effective, precise, and powerful way of bringing ideas, inspirations, and yearnings into reality.”
Mueller likens Perfect Aim to following a GPS. “Nearly all of us have a perfect turn-by-turn direction,” he explains. “That gives us precisely where we are and where we want to go and exactly how to get there, even helps us adjust to external factors or circumstances that optimize the route.”
Similar to following directions on a GPS, Perfect Aim doesn’t just analyze whether you meet your goal, but how you get there in the end.
“Perfect Aim will unlock a sense of power and effectiveness that you never knew you had, without having to rely on discipline or motivation,” Mueller says.
The Bottom Line
Your approach to goal setting as a leader will set the tone for the rest of your team. Effectively setting goals, regardless of the approach you choose, should benefit and encourage you (and the company) in the long run.
It sounds easy, but so often leaders find themselves struggling to see what comes next. What starts as a spark of inspiration may lead to a dead end without the proper strategies and mindset in place.
We have a resource to help you build exactly that. The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula is designed to help you get crystal clear on your goals and ensure you find success, step-by-step. Download your free copy to start mastering the accountability and discipline you need to stay focused on your destination.