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What are SMART objectives and how to apply them in your company?

SMART objectives are a popular tool and methodology used to set goals and objectives effectively, created by author George T. Doran in 1981. These acronyms stand for Specific, Relevant, Achievable ), Realistic (Realistic) and Limited Duration (Time-bound), which are the five essential criteria to establish intelligent objectives and visualize where we want to go giving our best.

1. Specific Objectives

The objective must be clear and precise, that is, it must answer the questions "what?", "why?" and how?". A specific objective helps maintain focus and define what you hope to achieve. For example, a specific goal would be "Improve my 2 minute 10K speed in the next 3 months." This objective is specific since a clear goal of improving speed in a specific race is established and a deadline is established to achieve it.

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2. Measurable Objectives

They refer to the ability to measure progress towards the goal. This helps to know if progress is being made and to adjust the strategy if necessary, in addition to evaluating the success or failure of the project. It must contain some objective way to measure them, such as a deadline, a number or some percentage change. One tool that is used as a key performance meter are KPIs.

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3. Achievable Goals

It means that the goal must be realistic and achievable. Although it is important to set challenging goals, they must also be achievable with the effort and resources available. For example, running a marathon in less than 2 hours in a month is unrealistic. It is important to take into account the current limitations and set goals that are achievable with the effort and resources available.

4. Relevant Objectives

It is the importance and impact of the objective in relation to long-term goals. A relevant objective must be aligned with the general objectives of the organization or the person. For example, improving speed in a 10K race is relevant to someone who wants to improve their time in a half marathon race.

5. Limited Duration Objectives

The objective must have a time frame and an end date for its fulfillment. This helps to establish priorities and set a schedule for the work.

How do we apply SMART objectives to our company?

SMART objectives can be very useful for the company, it helps us to specify what we want to achieve, how we will do it and who will be responsible, in order to have clear tasks and a better corporate organization.

As for the specifics, you can have “upsell” in mind, but it's just an idea. Something specific and concise would be: "Increase the sales of the best sellers in a 40% during the next year". In this way, we know more information to be able to achieve the objective successfully. 

For measurable objectives, it is easiest to base ourselves on percentages, but it is necessary that we have indicators that help analyze compliance after certain periods of time.

In the achievable objectives, it is necessary that you define each step with the resources available to you: number of workers, level of specialization, departments, technology, etc. Later, a study of the market, of the competitors and of the trends ensures that you create achievable objectives since everything analyzed is aligned with the reality of your company.

For the relevant objectives, it is the opportunity to know if you are in a position to meet this objective: Do I have the necessary resources? Are there employees available to do it? You have to think about those aspects that you consider as opportunities, to know if the issues raised are relevant or if they need to be redirected in a better way.

And finally, when goals are set without a deadline, they are likely to lead to failure. Defining objectives with a deadline, periods or time, helps us to focus. 

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