It’s a Goal!

By Heather Baldwin

Soccer and sales management have one thing in common: neither would be nearly as exciting without goals. And, just as scoring a goal in soccer requires the right set-up, reaching a personal or professional goal requires articulating that goal correctly in the beginning. Cy Charney, president of Charney and Associates, Inc. (www.askcharney.com) and author of The Instant Manager: More Than 100 Quick Tips & Techniques for Great Results (AMACOM, 2004), recommends using his SMART formula to set your next goal.

S: Be specific. If you want to be vice president of sales in 5 years, write that down rather than saying you want to make senior-level management at some point.

M: Make your goal measurable. This goes along with being specific. If you can measure your goal in terms of numbers or position you’ll know whether you reached it or not. A measurable goal means you won’t be able to fudge about whether you succeeded or failed.

A: Get agreement. If others are involved, be willing to negotiate the goal and get their agreement. Their input likely will increase your commitment to reaching the goal.

R: Be realistic. Don’t aim to be vice president of sales next year if you started your sales career last week. Don’t aim to close $3 million in sales this year if you only closed $500,000 last year. In other words, don’t strive to achieve something that’s so out of reach you’ll only get discouraged. Aim for smaller, more realistic improvements.

T: Time it. Give yourself a final deadline for your measurable goal, but break the goal into smaller steps with incremental milestones so you can measure if you’re on track.