Goal setting sounds easy but at the end of the day, it is a very specific process.  Anyone can set any type of goal but by using the following technique, you can achieve greater results.  The key is to set SMART goals.

  • 1. S: Specific:  We must be very clear and concise when setting a goal.  We can’t just say we want to cut labor, that will most likely never happen because we were not specific.  This general statement may mean various things to various people so you could have 5 people all chasing a different goal.  By using specific goals, we set the stage for accountability which usually leads to success.  If you set the goal that all five people need to lower labor by 2% next week when asked what the goal is, they should all arrive at the same answer.
  • 2. M: Measurable:  This also ties in with specific but goes to the next step towards creating the eventual accountability piece.  Our goals must be measurable to help us break it down into small bite size pieces so we can create some momentum.  The big goal may be to cut labor by 2%.  The bite size piece would be to say we need to cut 40 hours from the schedule next week.  This will help create a process to hold people accountable on a weekly basis for their actions.  As humans, most of us tend to procrastinate so by creating measurable goals every day, week or month we can gain traction towards the larger, big picture goal.  It may even go deeper to the actions that lead to the result.  The measurable goal could be that there should be no +3 figures on our hourly labor coverage graphs when writing the schedule. 
  • 3. A: Achievable:  This is key to keep morale high.  We need to create a stretch goal so that we push a little outside our comfort zone, but it needs to be possible.  As we gain momentum and traction towards the goal people get excited and usually beat the initial time frame set.  At the same point if people hear a crazy, unachievable goal day after day they won’t even try.  We can’t cut 100 hours in a week but we could cut 10 hours per week over the next 10 weeks to make it more manageable.
  • 4. R: Relative: This is often overlooked in setting  SMART goals.  Often times we get so excited to set goals that we forget what the real purpose is for the goal.  If our #1 goal is to cut labor, it doesn’t help us to set a goal to get 5 extra projects completed as this would only increase our labor demand.  Look at what the big picture is or areas of opportunity are in your store and decide which areas we need to focus on with our goals.  Again, this helps everyone get on the same page and working in the same direction.
  • 5. T: Time Bound:  This is similar to the idea of being measurable but this takes measurable to the next level.  Yes we need to cut labor by 2%, but over how long?  If my goal was to simply cut labor by 2% I don’t think I would ever achieve it or even know when or why I was working towards it.  If it was to cut labor by 2% over the next two months this gives me an ultimatum.  With longer range goals we need to make sure that we have daily, weekly and even monthly sub goals that are time bound to help us track our progress, build momentum and stay on track or even adjust course if needed.
  • 6. Accountability:  SMART goals are great but they ONLY work if people are held accountable for the results.  We may do great at setting the goals at the start of the shift but do we ask team members for progress reports during the shift and give feedback at the end of the shift?  If the goals were met, the feedback should be in the form of praise or even a Scoop Card.  If the goals were not met, we need to give feedback and ask what can be done differently on their next shift to achieve the goal.
  • One final thought.  Goals without commitment are useless.  You can set any goal you would like but if you do not define what you are willing to commit to everyday to achieve the goal you will most likely not see results.  After you write down your goal, write down your commitments! 

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