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Most of us know the importance of planning and goal setting in order to achieve whatever we want out of life. After all, unless you know where you are going, how will you reach your destination? If you are tired of an uneventful and unaccomplished life and are looking for a way of living the life of your dreams, you may need to start by setting your goals the right way.

Ken Blanchard, the renowned management guru, has suggested that we use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time Bound) goal setting approach to include all the elements that maximize our goal setting success. Let us review the key thoughts that need to be addressed to formulate a clear and well-defined goal statement.

Specific: Specifically define what you expect to do or achieve. Avoid generalities and use action verbs as much as possible. The level of detail you need to provide depends on your personality and experience level. For example, if you are highly autonomous or experienced, you could do with a little less detail than a less confident or seasoned one.

Measurable: Identify how you will measure success— usually stated in terms of quantity, quality, timeliness or cost (for example, increase sales revenue by 20%).

Attainable: Make sure that accomplishing the goal is within your realm of authority and capabilities. Can you successfully complete this goal with the skills, resources and time available to you? Are there factors beyond your control that need to be considered?

Relevant: Make sure the goal is relevant to your role, skills and qualifications. To get a context for the work you do, try linking the goal to a higher level personal or organizational objective.

Time Bound: Specify when the goal needs to be completed (for example, by the end of every month or quarter)

Here are a few examples of SMART and not-so-smart (LAZY) goals to illustrate the use of this popular model of goal setting:

LAZY: I want to lose weight.
SMART: I want to lose 10 Kg by March 30, 2019. I will perform a half hour of cardio and half hour of strength training per day, 5 times a week and I will only eat starchy carbohydrates 3 times a week.

LAZY: I will try to improve my business performance
SMART: I will acquire three new clients for my consulting business within two months by asking for referrals, launching a social media marketing campaign and networking with local businesses. This will allow me to grow my business and increase my revenue by 20%.

LAZY: I will generate four to five new business leads in new accounts.
SMART: I will get four to five new businesses leads in new accounts each month by cold calling at least ten new accounts after gathering the information necessary to pitch the most appropriate products and services before each call.

LAZY: I will improve the customer satisfaction survey results rate by 10% by resolving cases on the first call.
SMART: I will improve the customer satisfaction rate by 10% by generating troubleshooting diagrams to consistently resolve cases and will implement this plan over the next six months throughout the entire company, one department at a time.

Remember – SMART Goals with Focused Action lead to desired results. It is time to begin.

Mr. Vincent D’Silva, Faculty – Indo-American Society for Corporate Training Programmes.