How do you make a goal measurable?

»Smart« aims formulate
Successful leadership cannot be achieved without setting goals. By consistently setting goals, continuously pursuing the goal and providing feedback on the actual status of goal achievement, it is possible to achieve more within a shorter period of time. But how do these goals have to be formulated so that the balancing act between overstrain and underchallenge succeeds?

For success in leadership, it is essential to agree goals with your employees. The goal setting forms the starting point to get to where you want to go with your employees. Consistent goal setting, continuous pursuit of the goal and feedback on the actual status of goal achievement enables you to achieve more with your team in less time than you would have ever believed. Agreeing goals with employees sets the turbo in motion with which you bring your employees and yourself forward.

Often, however, no goals are set in the day-to-day management of employees, but rather intentions, wishes, hopes or dreams are expressed from the employee's point of view through formulations such as: "Increase customer satisfaction, increase profit, improve productivity". It is therefore of fundamental importance to formulate goals »smart«, because as Peter Drucker said in his classic The Effective Executive"If you can't measure it, you can't get it either".

If you formulate a goal in a “smart” way, you are laying the foundation for your leadership success. The term is an American abbreviation and the letters SMART stand for: specific, measurable, accepted, realistic and timed. So it's about formulating smart goals with your employees. For example, you say: "Your goal is to increase sales of product line X by 10 percent by June 30th." This goal is specific, it can be measured, if it is agreed with the employee, then they accept it Goal too. The goal must also be realistic, so this 10 percent must be achievable. The target date for achieving the goal is set to June 30th, so the goal is also set.

It must be precisely formulated which success parameter is involved. Which screw do we want to turn? What exactly should change? When employees hear from their superiors: "Do it" or "You will do it", then it is not surprising that they either run in the wrong direction or do not even start running. You don't always have to know exactly how to achieve the goal. However, your job is to formulate what exactly you want to achieve. Setting specific goals means being clear about what you want. With unspecific goals, misunderstandings and anger easily arise. Make sure that all employees have the same understanding of something and focus their forces in the same direction. Goals are to be defined in measurable parameters, because then you can also determine how far your employees have come closer to the goal. The measurability shows, so to speak, how far the way is or what the employee has already achieved. Making a goal measurable means setting values ​​that can be used as a guide. Often goals are also long-term, then it is crucial to approach the big goal through intermediate steps, in which one can quickly and early detect deviations from the plan so that a course correction can be made in good time. The basis must also be created so that the employee stands behind the achievement of the goal, that he accepts the goal for himself. Nothing is more demotivating than having to keep pushing employees towards their goals. It is clear that the agreed goals must not contradict the personal values ​​of the employee if he is to be bound by them. It is also helpful for acceptance that the goals are formulated positively. It should not be about what should not be done or avoided, but rather the target image should be described positively. There are quite different opinions about the extent to which goals have been achieved. Setting high goals that challenge us, that send a shiver down our spine, but that make us all the more motivated to go to work, that's one side. On the other hand, goals mustn't be unrealistic, because then, and we all know that, they demotivate us and we don't even get started. A goal is only realistic if we can achieve it with the resources available. Terminating a goal means bringing the goal into a time reference and determining when exactly the target state should be reached. A distinction is made here between tactical, operational and strategic objectives. Tactically, the time span is up to one year, the medium-term, operational time horizon is one to three years and the strategic time horizon starts at three years. To perfect a goal, clear time specifications with regard to the duration and the scheduling of intermediate appointments or the determination of when which sub-goal can be achieved are necessary.

The Americans say: "Nothing succeeds more than success!" And the prerequisite for success as a manager is to set and formulate goals "smart". This serves to make goals accessible and clear, and gives employees orientation for their actions and actions. Together, you can determine whether your employees are still on the way to the summit or whether they have taken a side path on the road to success.