Goal Setting Tips for Businesses and Employees

A new year is a good time to set new goals for the future. This is just as true in the hardwood lumber industry as it is in any other industry. However, coming up with these goals is just the beginning. Where many people (and organizations) fall short is actually following through on those lofty goals and seeing them to fruition.

Here at Baillie Lumber, we welcome the opportunity to assess where we are today and to set new goals for the future. Here are some tips for setting and achieving goals that we have found helpful in our organization.

Set goals using the SMART method.  DSC2174

It’s widely understood that employee goal setting is enhanced through use of the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time). The same principle can be used when setting organization-wide objectives. As you evaluate the state of the business and determine new goals for 2020, make sure these goals can be:

  •  Achieved within a specific timeframe
  •  Fit into a measurable framework
  •  Tied to broader strategic objectives

Without taking these factors in consideration, achieving goals can be more difficult and frustrating along the way.

Take practical, measurable steps. Whatever your goals might be—drive new sales, boost customer loyalty, expand into a new location—the key is not trying to do everything at once. Once an objective has been determined, look for ways to break up progress towards that goal in smaller, more practical steps. What can you do today or tomorrow that helps you progress towards your ultimate objective? What type of action plan can be laid out in concrete steps that move your company forward?

Monitor progress. As part of a “practical step” approach, it’s often effective to monitor progress through weekly or monthly goal reviews. Pausing to assess progress towards a goal boosts awareness of how much has been achieved thus far, and what remains to be done. Establish milestones you and your team can meet, at a pre-assigned deadline, in order to keep momentum going strong.

Don’t be discouraged by errors along the way. Setting a goal and working to accomplish it isn’t a foolproof system. Mistakes may happen, but as The Balance Small Business notes, “When it comes to goals, forward-moving progress often trumps mistakes,” so don’t “wait until the situation is perfect in order to proceed.” Instead, leverage what you learn from a mistake, which can “open your eyes to new ideas and approaches you may not otherwise see.”

Make use of resources to achieve your goals. Goal setting requires commitment, and with commitment comes the obligation to employ all the resources available to get the job done. This often means setting aside (or delaying) some operations in order funnel needed resources towards the most important objective.

Maintain awareness of organizational goals. If a key objective affects the organization at large, it’s critically important to communicate to employees and boost awareness of goal-related activities. Sometimes, priorities change as part of the process, in which case “team members should be kept aware of changes, so they, in turn, can change the activities they use to support these goals,” as Forbes notes.

Keep employee goals aligned with company goals. The drive towards achieving goals is sometimes blocked by employees’ confusion over how they fit in with the organization’s objectives. It’s important, therefore, to align their individual goals with the big picture, and to continuously explain and highlight how an employee’s progress towards his or her individual goals aligns with the larger, strategic objectives. As we’ve noted before, “the more employees understand the company’s strategy, the more motivated they are to align their efforts accordingly.

What new objectives make the most sense for your organization? Whether you are a sawmill, wholesaler, distributor, manufacturer or another type of business, setting (and committing to) goals in 2020 will help your business move forward and stay competitive for years to come.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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