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How to analyze your goals

One of the most useful tools you can pass along to your employees-and use yourself-is goal setting. Goals are important. They actually give you something to work for, rather than just working with no end in sight or no specific reason to be working.

Before you can really set realistic goals, let's define goals and their purposes. Goals are set with the idea of achieving a specific thing. Maybe you want to increase sales by 30%. Or maybe your goal is to lower turnover. Goals are set with the purpose of achieving an overall objective. Your end goal is referred to as your objective, and goals are the smaller accomplishments you make along the way that will help you to reach your objective.

If you are already setting goals within your company and are having your employees do the same yet are frustrated with the lack of results, you may need to analyze your goals to make sure they can actually help you to reach your overall objective. When analyzing your goals, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have I defined the objective? Without one main thing to work toward, your goals have no direction. Make sure your objective is clearly defined, and then go about setting smaller goals to reach that objective.
2. Are my goals specific? Your goals should be clear and concise instead of wide open or confusing. For example, if your objective is, "Increase overall employee productivity," a concrete goal would be, "Increase the number of workers who arrive to work on time by 10% this week" instead of "Fewer late arrivals."
3. Are my goals measurable? The ability to measure your progress is an important part of goal-setting. This could be through implementing charts or diagrams to chart progress and using mini-goals.
4. Are my goals realistic? Setting unrealistic goals is only setting yourself up for failure and will result in disappointment and frustration in yourself as a manager as well as your team. Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable, especially at first. For example, "Increase sales by 50% this month" is usually not a realistic goal.
5. Are my goals relevant? Don't waste your time by setting goals that won't get you any closer to your objective. When setting goals, identify how that goal itself is going to help you reach your objective.
6. Have I written my goals down? "Out of sight, out of mind" holds true for goals as well. If you can't see the goals you've set, it's easy to forget them or to not hold yourself accountable for them. Write your goals down and post them in a place you will see them every day.
7. Have I set a deadline? Your goals, as well as your objective, should have a specific time frame attached. Otherwise, there will be no urgency to reaching them.
8. Have I shared my goals? When your goals relate to the business or your employees as a whole, you should share them with them. This is especially true if you're working towards goals as a team.

Goals are a wonderful tool to help you succeed in business. Not only can they help you with your own personal career goals, but they can help your team stay motivated and continually striving to reach higher and accomplish more.

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