How to Develop a Strategic Plan for Business Process Automation: Step 1 – Build SMART Goals

According to the Project Management Institute, in 2017 high-performing organizations successfully completed 92% of projects, while low performers only completed 33% successfully. Low performers wasted more than 12 times the resources than high-performing organizations. A key differentiator between high and low performers is a clearly defined and measurable statement expressing an organizational goal. This tells employees where the organization is going and how it plans to get there.

A goal is what success looks like. You don’t operate in business for long without hearing about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). They are more challenging to formulate and execute than the mnemonic implies but they are worth it.

The Process of Establishing SMART Goals

When you read your organization’s vision and mission, ask yourself:

  • What do I see?
  • What do our executives, board members, shareholders want to see?

Most answers look like “best in sales for the region,” “#1 rated customer service for our industry,” “most satisfied employees in the state,” or something similar. These statements have two characteristics in common – they are all specific and measurable.

Planning Your Goals – Ensure they are SMART – Some Examples

Goals can be broadly or narrowly stated but they need to be specific. What do you want to achieve?

If your goal is “Best sales in the region,” you need to make sure you:

  • Describe what sales qualify
  • Identify what areas make up the region
  • Determine the time-period

Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Goals must also be stated in measurable terms, or they are only good intentions. Measurable goals facilitate management planning, implementation, and control. Measurement achieved via evaluation allows an organization to compare its actual performance to its goals. How do you know you have succeeded if you do not know where the goal line is?

As for the other characteristics of setting goals, consider the following:

  • The achievability of a goal needs to take a look at how to accomplish the goal and assess if you have the budget, staff, resources, and skills needed. If you don’t currently possess those tools/skills, consider what it would take to attain them and if it would be worth the investment.
  • The relevance of a goal is tied directly to your mission. There is no point to pursuing a goal of “best sales in the region” if your mission directs you to produce the most widgets for the lowest price. You can achieve the goal, but your business may not be successful.
  • The timing can make or break the success of any goal. All goals must include a timeline of when they should be accomplished. It should be reasonable, properly sequenced, and based on the other factors and other goals.

Now that you have a well-defined goal, our next article will focus on establishing the strategy, objectives, and plans to reach the goal.

As Mary Kay Ash said, “An average person with average talents and ambition and average education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society if that person has clear, focused goals.” The indomitable makeup maven didn’t build a $200 million company by accident; she knew what she wanted and she worked for it.

Naviant wants to work with you to meet your goals – call us to see how we can help.

About Ann-Marie

Ann-Marie is a Project Management Institute, Professional Project Manager and 10+ year veteran of the Project Management discipline, focusing primarily on health care and information technology projects. She also holds multiple Epic Clinical application certifications and managed some Epic implementations in roles representing (at different times) the vendor, health system, and consulting firm. Ann-Marie has also worked on OnBase implementation large and small over the last few years. Currently, she is an Account Executive at Naviant in Verona, WI. Outside of work, Ann-Marie is a life-long nerd who enjoys books, video games, and cross-stitch embroidery.