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Tips for setting strong strategic goals

Tips for setting strong strategic goals.


Whether you’ve set a goal for your company as a whole, or for yourself as a professional, strategic goals help set the stage for growth. And now is an ideal time to create goals for the year to come. What would you like to achieve by the end of 2019?

Well-designed goals provide direction, clarity and motivation to make the year ahead your best year yet. Our tips for setting strong strategic goals:

Identify what kind of achiever you are.

What kind of goal motivates you? Some of us thrive with specific, simple goals we can confidently accomplish. But others love the challenge of a almost-crazy goal — it’s the “shoot for the moon, land among the stars” mentality.

So it can help to start with some self-reflection: what drives you? Does a sense of accomplishment, no matter how small, spur you on to keep working? Or do you find motivation when presented with a bigger-than-ever goal? Know yourself and design business goals accordingly.

Brush up on goal-setting basics.

Many of us are familiar with the characteristics of a well-designed goal — you’ve likely heard the acronym “SMART.” The acronym stands for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Oriented.

Research shows that you’re two to three times more likely to follow through on a goal when you make a specific plan for when, where and how you’ll get it done. So think through the logistics for goals you’re more likely to accomplish.

Dream big first, then reign it in later.

In the everyday rhythms of business, it’s tempting to get stuck within limits. Hey, it can be wise to work within what we know is possible. But sometimes we allow limits to rain on our strategy parade. For example, you might want to execute a big inventory push in 2019 — but a snug budget stops you from even considering it.

When you’re setting goals, try putting constraints to the side for a bit. Rather than lock yourself into only the goals you are equipped to handle, it can be refreshing to give yourself permission to really brainstorm! Approach goal-setting with a sky’s-the-limit attitude. And then, once you’ve gotten your biggest goals on paper, navigate the tactics to make it happen.

Begin with a challenge, then reverse-engineer your goal.

Many of us are familiar with a “SWOT” analysis: it’s a deep dive into your business, thinking critically about Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Draw goal-setting inspiration from your business’s challenges.

Could 2019 be the year you transform a threat into a core strength? For example, if e-commerce is a threat to your brick-and-mortar locations, a good goal for 2019 might be to strengthen your business’s digital footprint.

Craft an action plan — and get things on the calendar now.

Especially during our business’s busier seasons, goals have a sneaky way of falling to the bottom of our to-do lists. Without a follow-through plan, our goals run the risk of being forgotten. Once you’ve set your goals, invest the time in creating an action plan.

Create a standing appointment on your calendar each month to evaluate progress. Organize meetings with team members who play a role in accomplishing goals. Protect time on your calendar now — so you’re more likely to follow through on your strategic goals later.

Spread the word.

Accountability can make a meaningful difference in achieving goals. In a study on accountability, the American Society of Training and Development discovered that you have a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit to someone. So let someone else into the conversation. Share your goal with colleagues, and invite them to come alongside you in making it happen. This can be especially motivating for a team to accomplish together, with shared ownership of the outcome.

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