As a leader you’re responsible for setting goals and objectives and then making sure your team is able to achieve those goals. First, it’s important to clarify that goals and objectives are not the same. A goal is an idea or vision while an objective is the clear path you’ve decided to take in order to reach that goal.
Managers looking to set clear objectives commonly use what is known as the SMART plan, though it seems to me that not many use it properly. SMART is an acronym, defined as follows:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Time-Bound
Specific objectives are very detailed – you know exactly what you are trying to do.
Measurable objectives are those you can monitor for effectiveness. You can measure the outcome or compare it to a standard to determine whether or not you are successful.
Achievable objectives are those that make sense. They’re realistic and not just backed by hopes and wishes. You can take action and actually obtain an achievable objective.
Realistic objectives are feasible and possible. This means that not only do you have the talent on hand to reach your objectives, but you have the resources (computer software, research materials, etc) available to make it happen.
Time-bound objectives have a realistic timeline – one that you must follow in order to be successful.
As a manager you must not only develop objectives but you must have the communication skills necessary in order to outline those objectives when talking to your staff. The more detailed you are, the more they’ll understand, and you’ll always be on the same page when it comes to achieving your ultimate end goal!