Creating SMART goals for success

The issue of workplace productivity has long been debated in the popular press, as organisations look for new ways to boost performance and measure the output of their employees.

Of course, measuring productivity accurately can prove difficult, especially when looking for a general method that can be applied across all industries.

Increasing productivity means surpassing your previous best, without significantly increasing your resources and it can only happen once you identify new goals and build on past performances.

To facilitate positive change, you must first gain the commitment of your wider team and instil a new positive attitude of working to ‘beat your best’.

Establishing effective SMART goals can help lay a foundation for future success.

S stands for SPECIFIC

Goals that are easily defined can be classed as specific. While general goals can be difficult to complete, specific goals have a much greater chance of being accomplished. To set a specific goal, ask yourself:

  • WHO: Who is involved?
  • WHAT: What do I want to accomplish?
  • WHERE: Identify a location,
  • WHEN: Establish a time frame.
  • WHICH: Identify requirements and constraints.
  • WHY: Purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

M stands for MEASURABLE

If a goal can be quantified, then it qualifies as being measurable. It’s important to establish detailed criteria for measuring your progress, allowing you to stay on track towards completing your goals. Progress management also enables you to keep to pre-established timing plans, while embracing the personal satisfaction and exhilaration used to promote self-motivation.

To determine whether your goal is measurable, ask questions such as…

  • How many?
  • How much?
  • How long?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

A stands for ATTAINABLE

Only once a goal is humanly possible to accomplish can it be classed as attainable. After outlining the goals that you want to accomplish, you should begin creating a plan of action that can help you achieve these targets.

This may involve learning new skills or developing the abilities and financial capacity needed to make them a reality. This new-found attitude will allow you to embrace opportunities you once turned down.

With a clear and effective plan, you can achieve almost any goal you set, as you follow the steps needed to succeed.

Those targets that once felt out of sight and impossible to accomplish now move closer and become attainable. Not because they are easier, but because you have grown as an individual and have developed the right tools.

When you list your goals, you build a positive self-image. You slowly begin to develop the traits and personality needed to possess them.

R stands for REALISTIC

For a goal to be realistic, it must represent an objective that you are both willing and able to work towards. Just because you set the bar high doesn’t mean it is unrealistic.

Often the hardest tasks are simple to complete but feel longer due to a lack of motivation and passion. It’s crucial that the targets you set yourself represent substantial, measurable progress.

A goal becomes realistic once you truly believe it can be completed using the time and resources available to you.

If you have completed similar tasks in the past, then this can be a good indication that a goal is realistic – ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to complete the goal and then create this environment.

T stands for TANGIBLE

A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the five key senses – taste, touch, hearing, smell and sight. If you’re dealing with an intangible goal, you have a better chance of making it more realistic and attainable if you can attach a tangible to it.

Although tangible goals are easier to accomplish, intangible goals are vital to developing the personality characteristics needed to experience more success. Therefore, giving close attention to them and finding ways to monitor progress is vital for future development.

As you seek continuous professional and personal improvement, it is vital for you to set specific productivity goals – to reach any destination you need to know where you are going so you can plan the best way to get there.

You will achieve more with a clear plan

You may set goals with enthusiasm and believe you are committed to them, but find yourself unable to achieve what you had hoped. You might make big plans, but seem unable to follow through and reach the desired outcome. If it all sounds familiar, you probably need a good shot of discipline.

We’re not talking ‘six of the best’, but the sort of discipline that trains you to develop the consistency and persistence you need to achieve all your goals.

Discipline is typically defined as; “training expected to produce a specific pattern of behaviour, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.”

In simple terms, discipline is a matter of forming and maintaining a good habit. Whilst many consider discipline the preserve of top athletes and highly motivated business people, in reality anyone can develop the discipline they need with just a little effort.

To instil discipline within and achieve your desired outcomes:


Set attainable goals

Make your goals specific and measurable. For example, you may want to learn a new language, subscribe to an online resource to improve your mental faculties, or you might want to increase your income by a certain amount this year, or finally make that once-in-a-lifetime holiday a reality.

Create a plan

Outline the specific steps you will need to take to meet your goal. It is this written plan and the process of writing it out, rather than typing on your laptop that will help you track your progress until the new habit is established.

Really want it

For change to occur and be permanent, you must want to change your present behaviour; it has to be your choice if you are to improve mentally and morally. Change begins with a conscious choice of the will.

Commit to it

You will have to be persistent to carry out your plan on a daily basis. This will require real commitment and dedication; it will be easier if you visualize the benefits you’ll obtain by making these changes. Switch from just hoping, to believing in yourself, to change nice habits into great habits.

Repeat for success

For the change to be permanent, you must repeat the new behaviour until it becomes an established habit. Even if you slip up once or twice, do not become discouraged, be strong and believe in yourself. Pick up where you left off and continue practicing the desired behaviour.

Remember, you can change your behaviour with a clear plan and you will reap the benefits when you do. Our Effective Personal Productivity programme will help you understand the goal-setting approach to changing your life and achieving more – interested in learning more, then please get in touch.

Connecting daily activity with the Big Picture


Connecting daily activity with the Big PictureOne of the key challenges of any organisation is to connect what their people are doing on a daily basis with their Big Picture goals – their mission and purpose, vision and values.

This video shows how to break down the big picture into a Master Goals List, from their to create a monthly goals and priorities plan, and from there to effective manage your time on a daily basis.

Connecting daily activity with the Big Picture

Are you a Task Manager or a People Manager?

This is not a fictional story and the changes took place over many weeks. As a scenario many can relate to, its clear from my conversations with managers, that tinkering with possible solutions only produces a short term fix.

One of my clients, Ray, a senior financial services manager in his early 30’s commented, “I know I should delegate more but it doesn’t seem fair on the team to be dumping my work on them” he explained. “And I can’t ask everyone to stop calling me for help because they need to get their jobs done too!”

Recognising the need to take a fresh approach to his business challenges, no one was more surprised than he was when he became a bonafide leader of people, rather than a task manager. This is what he did.

In spite of his concerns, he knew what he wanted from his role and what he needed from his people. Ultimately, clear-cut, written goals were to him the foundation for obtaining what he was looking for.

  1. Ray worked on developing his plan for getting there: his road map to keep him on track. His plan also helped him anticipate and overcome obstacles that would get in the way.
  2. Ray asked himself the question “what’s in it for me?” and identified compelling benefits: fewer working hours; increased sales; more family time and considerably less stress. The importance of self-motivation cannot be undervalued.
  3. Ray knew he could do this! Initially, small successes built his confidence, he developed his people skills, he delegated tasks that he knew he should not do and he protected his time. Ray’s self belief bolstered his expectation of success.
  4. Finally, he Never Gave Up. Sometimes things didn’t go to plan. Delegated tasks came back incomplete, or not on time or to a poor standard. Ray used his desire and confidence to follow through with his plan and never gave up.

Failure to change from being a task manager to a people manager stems from giving up too soon, “I tried that – it didn’t work!” The same failure stems a defeatist attitude, “I knew when I gave out that work, I’d end up doing it.” The same failure stems from a lack of time to plan and set goals, “I’m just too busy – I’ll try get round to that tomorrow!” Be aware that obstacles can get in the way of achieving a result – be just as aware of cast iron excuses being given.

Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal. Stay Focused.

Yes, stay focused! This is a key determinant to your results. It’s less about what is happening around you – it’s more about what is happening inside your head!

For further information :

Effective Motivational Leadership

Effective Leadership Development

Leadership Forum

Leadership Lunch

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Michael Levy

Thirteen Attributes of Leadership

Leadership is not about popularity.

Leadership is not about charisma.

Leaders, like the rest of us experience moments of self doubt and inner turmoil. This results in questioning their own character and judgement with honest reflection and a commitment to action.

As the ethic says “He (sic) who does not increase his knowledge, decreases it.” And this applies to leaders too because we live in a world that does not stand still and changes constantly.

Use these thirteen attributes to find one small way to become a better leader tomorrow than you are today.

  1. A focus on Goal Directed Actions.
  2. Self motivated with an understanding of how to motivate others
  3. A capacity to develop an effective vision of the future with crystallized Goals, and a Plan for their achievement
  4. A belief in constant learning rather than assumed mastery
  5. Development of high self esteem in others
  6. A willingness to ask questions, admit weaknesses and listen to answers
  7. Strong and sincere interpersonal skills, including an appreciation of other people and sensitivity towards individuals
  8. An ability to bring about TRUST, build relationships and inspire others.
  9. The ability and desire to develop leadership in others
  10. The capacity to handle criticism by listening and drawing out people’s concerns
  11. An approach that possesses, values and nurtures innovation and initiative
  12. The ability to communicate well at every level
  13. Integrity and trustworthiness

Leadership challenges are constant and form the basis of dicsussions at my Leadership Lunches. My next lunch takes place in Manchester on Thursday 25th April 2013. An invitation only event. Please get in touch if you would like more information.

Michael Levy 0161 980 0780 / 07903 183931