Why “SMART” is not enough

In this era of tough competition and globalization, every company requires that not only “SMART” people are working in their teams but also goal setting must be “SMART”. In B Schools today, every batch is taught about SMART goals, but in the real world scenario, it is rare that every leader’s team is setting SMART goals and achieving them.

SMART Goal Setting

SMART goals are relevant not only in the business world today but in every single aspect of one’s life. Considering that time is a limiting factor, everyone starts their day with equal 24 hours, but some great achievers understand the importance of constant planning, executing, reviewing and course correction.

If we look at the goal setting strategy of Apple, they have beautifully described “SMART” goal as follows:-

Apple will increase its revenue by breaking into high-level watch market and take a 15% market share by 2016

  1. Specific-

This goal defines a new market where Apple has taken the time to innovate in a specific way.

Goals usually fail, when we are not spelling out the exact thing that we are striving for. “To be a great company in Hardware market”- If a goal sounds like this, it is doomed to fail because it does not specify the target market that company will be focusing on.

2. Measurable-

As Apple’s goal clearly defines the percentage of market share that they are going to capture, it is measurable, hence achievable.

If we are not able to measure sales, performance metrics, productivity per employee, profitability per department, we are heading towards failure.

3. Achievable-

Apple has made sure that this goal is set in a way to encash brand name of Apple along with utilizing the well- developed distribution system with its retail stores and online stores.

The important concept is to ensure that goals should not be set so low that they do not push us out of our comfort zones but should not be too high that they even sound bizarre. It means we must be setting Stretch goals.

4. Relevant-

This goal is relevant because it sets high standards of growth for an area where the company has recently invested a lot of its resources.

The story that I always tell my team is of young Matt, who had been working very hard on various projects, but at the end of the year when the rating of performance was to be done, he did not get his share. The problem was that though he was doing a lot of cross department support function, he did not focus on the key area,i.e increasing sales where his performance was actually required. Ultimately, focusing the energy on the irrelevant areas is never expected from employees.

5. Time Bound-

Apple’s goal is to achieve 15% market share by 2016 means they have set a deadline for themselves.

Without a deadline, the goal is merely a wish. In this video, Mr. Tim explains, why setting deadlines are of extreme importance.

Deadlines are your savior

Now, when I say that “SMART” is not enough, I mean that all these fancy tools are not going to help us if we are not willing to put in the hard work. Setting “SMART” goals require a constant follow up and thorough execution along with the application of lessons learned along the way.

So, the next time you find your team struggling with achieving goals, ensure that you start well in time, be thorough in the execution and be courageous enough to put in the hard work.

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