Setting Measurable Goals
Did you read my latest blog post about the importance of not just formulating goals, but actually making them SMART:
- Specific: Your resolution must be totally clear as it’s very important to have a concrete goal.
- Measurable: It may be an old cliché, but many buy into the saying that “What gets measured gets done.”
- Achievable: Sure you can have stretch goals, but trying to take too big a step too fast may leave you frustrated.
- Relevant: The goal must matter to you - and for the right reasons. Otherwise, most likely it doesn’t last long.
- Time-bound: You need a deadline, but you should also give yourself enough time to focus on small wins so you can make gradual progress.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
In fact, Drucker never said or wrote these words, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t care about measuring. In his book “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices” he wrote:
“Work implies not only that somebody is supposed to do the job, but also accountability, a deadline and, finally, the measurement of results - that is, feedback from results on the work and on the planning process itself.”
Start Asking "Why?"
So let’s measure, but don’t for one second fall into the trap that measurement can only be done by means of metrics. Yes, numbers are great because most often they are easy to interpret, but in many cases they lack the answer to “Why?”. Why do people answer the way they do, why is the average higher in one area than in another, why is the price elasticity so high? And on, and on and on. Statistics are great, but some claim that …
“Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.”
I agree, if statistics are not used in the right way then they are dangerous. So keep this in mind when you set your SMART goals: You don’t necessarily (only) need numbers and statistics to measure whether you have reached your goal, there is more to it than that. More on that next time.
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