Why Goal Setting is Key to Success
Goal #1: Make Windmill
Picture this: you are a 14-year-old living in Malawi. One day, your family tells you they no longer have the money to pay your high school tuition. What would you do? William Kamkwamba found himself in this situation, and decided to set a goal: make a windmill. He went to the library and found a book with a picture of one, and it occurred to him that he could use it to power his home with electricity for the first time.
Kamkwamba used parts like a tractor fan and scraps that he found to create his windmill. Other people in his village thought he was crazy, but began to take notice when they heard his windmill-powered radio playing music. News of the windmill spread from the local newspaper to international media. Kamkwamba has since become the subject of a short film, Moving Windmills and a full-length documentary, William and the Windmill. He now attends school in the United States, and hopes to one day run a company focused on windmills and alternative energy.
Setting a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
It’s crucial that in life, and in business, that we set goals. A goal is not the same as a dream; it has an action plan behind it and a date of completion, whereas, a dream is an idea that we wish would come true, but we don’t actually take steps to make it happen. Thus, a good goal can’t be nebulous in any way. It must be S.M.A.R.T.:
All these elements are important, but a goal’s measurability may be the most crucial for businesses. The reason is that it’s the only way for a company to truly evaluate whether they have achieved their goal. That’s why goals need to have numbers built into them. For example, “ABC Company wants to significantly increase its popularity on social media by September 30th.” Well, how does ABC Company define a “significant increase”? Is the aim to have 50 more followers on Instagram or 500? Only by establishing this during the goal setting process can ABC Company know whether to celebrate on September 30th or soberly examine why their social media efforts aren’t yielding results.
Monitoring a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
From the original goal setting point to the deadline for goal achievement, there must be monitoring. In other words, on September 3rd, how close is Company A to reaching its desired number of Instagram followers? This is where analytics is the goal-driven company’s friend. Instagram Insights, for example, can provide a business with the number of impressions, the amount of reach, and the number of profile views it has had in the last seven days. If those numbers are good, then yes, the content Company A is producing is on the right track. If they’re not great, the business still has a chance to adjust its strategy, rather than giving up on its initial aim altogether.
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