Set SMART Goals to Effect Organizational Change

Since the early 2000s, Nike has transformed its business practices, increasing profitability through looking at specific ways to adjust operating principles, streamline finance management, overhaul inventory procedures and supply chain management. In the process, Nike demonstrated that a huge well-established company with many faithful customers and just as much competition can still increase profits.

Through the implementation of clear goals, the company decreased manufacturing time and maximized profits. Establishing goals, maintaining a structure for assessing the goals, and analyzing the necessary documentation to track the changes and create additional goals might seem daunting at first. One way to accomplish powerful profitability goals in your company is to apply a “S.M.A.R.T. Goals” plan to bolster business improvements. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Here are some tips for getting the job done.

Even the Innovative Elite Need Goals

Setting goals that are specific and reflect the overall corporate culture is vital for growing your business with S.M.A.R.T. goals. In the supply chain, for instance, set more aggressive goals for reducing defects in products, or improving communication along the supply chain to decrease response time. Being innovative is a vital component for long term corporate success, as well as establishing the balance between innovation and structural discipline. Setting goals that are specific to each team or work group builds organizational unity and gives the individual precise benchmarks with which to monitor success.

Motivate with Goals

Goals that are properly aligned with corporate values and individual employee job descriptions act as a motivating tool that sustains growth. Goals should be attainable, yet somewhat aggressive. Nike applied the same vitality it demonstrates toward design to the more mundane tasks of running the business and achieved fantastic results. Employees at all levels feel a sense of accomplishment when goals are realized. Mentoring employees that need to improve skills and providing precise ongoing feedback builds the momentum of your business renovation or overhaul goals. When quarterly and annual reviews are in alignment with the goals, there is a top down and bottom up commitment to ongoing growth and built in sustainability to the participation process.

Realistic Goals Pump up Participation

When teams experience success, they will set, reach for, and achieve more aggressive goals, thus pumping up your results. Whether a team is setting goals to decrease response time, improve customer satisfaction survey ratings, increase the number of “fair trade” certified material suppliers, or reduce manufacturing waste, setting clear short-term and long-term goals with realistic outcomes becomes a vital driving force in staying the course of your business plan.

Utilize Timelines

Setting manageable timelines and maintaining effective communication with all constituents will augment your goal-setting strategies. There is a working rhythm that is almost palpable when you walk into a work setting that is working synergistically. Through setting up the structure, and committing to and executing specific goals, your company culture will evolve in ways that support and sustain your improvements. Timelines give people precise time management goals and build cohesive movement forward toward collective deadlines.

Used properly, S.M.A.R.T. goals can give even the most innovative companies benchmarks for accomplishing greatness. Perhaps more than anything else, Nike’s recent success demonstrates that even when thinking outside the box is paramount, goals that give direction, energize performance, provide challenges, and sustain forward momentum are just as necessary to preserve (and improve) marketplace standings. No matter the size of your company, utilizing S.M.A.R.T. goals can give you the tools to look at the potential for growth in your company and create a plan with no holds barred.

University Alliance submitted this article on behalf of The University of San Francisco’s online program. The University of San Francisco provides all the tools and resources necessary to gain a supply chain management certification, and a sustainable supply chain management certification online. For further information please visit

image: eightfivezero via Flickr cc

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