Setting and Articulating SMART Goals that Stick All Year

Every successful insurance and risk management professional has clearly set and articulated goals to attain specific objectives. Yet far too many risk consultants lack a focused goal. They typically reply that their rather fuzzy resolution for the coming year is to “Get more business.”

A better, more focused approach would be to set clear and achievable SMART goals. SMART goals will give you direction and show you whether you are getting closer to your desired objective.

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It is a simple tool that leads to successful outcomes.

S – Specific: Ask yourself what you want to achieve. Determine any roadblocks that could keep you from reaching your goal and make a plan to get around the obstacles. For instance, if you want to grow new business in 2023, try, “I plan to elevate my new business hit ratio to 90% in 2023 and obtain two new clients each month with revenues averaging $10,000.” The moment you focus  on a specific goal, it becomes a magnet that pulls you toward achieving it.

M – Measurable: A goal without a measurable outcome is like a football game without a scoreboard. Numbers are essential in business, and this step lets you evaluate whether your goal was achieved or not.  Put concrete numbers in your goals so you can determine if you are on track. For example, your goal might be to improve client support by earning a 90% satisfied/very satisfied client satisfaction rate. Or you might want to grow your network by having at least one lunch each month with an external professional relationship.  Consider posting a goals’ white board in your office as a daily reminder to keep yourself focused on the targeted results you want to achieve.

A – Achievable: Is your goal realistic? Do you have the ability to do it? Do you have the skills or tools you need to achieve it? If not, change your goal to something you can accomplish. This is where you dream big and aim for the stars, while keeping one foot firmly based in reality. For example, you may want to conduct a stewardship review for all clients with revenues above a predetermined level. Or you may want to expand your knowledge earning a professional certification in 2023.

R – Realistic: Does your goal fit with your overall plan for yourself? Is this something you should spend your time doing? Take a good look at how realistic your goal is. A realistic goal might be to invest in and strengthen your knowledge about a more advanced risk management process. This is where you figure out what your “WHY” is. Why you want to do something is incredibly powerful.

T – Time-bound: Think of a goal as a dream with a timeline. Goals and objectives just don’t get done when you don’t set a time frame to them. Whether your goal is to increase your book of business by 20% or find five new clients, choose a time frame to accomplish your goal.

After you design SMART goals, make sure they are your goals, not someone else’s. The only way to succeed in goal-setting is to make sure the goal is your desire. Why? Because striving to achieve is not for the faint of heart. It can be tough to stick to your goal. And you will not have the drive to work toward a goal if you are not passionate about it.

On occasion, you will not accomplish a specific goal.  Don’t get discouraged if you get off track. Everyone hits speedbumps from time to time. The failure to actualize a specific goal is not important as long as you learned a lesson from the process and gave it your best effort.  As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

If you fail to accomplish a goal, take a moment to reflect and define the destination of your journey. Remember your big picture: What do you want? Think back to your WHY – it’s the foundation of your goals and will help you stick to them long-term. Ask yourself:

  • Why did I choose my big-picture goal?
  • What do I need to achieve in three years that will put me on the path to achieving my big-picture goal?

Hopefully, you are thinking that setting goals for yourself for 2023 is the right thing to do. Just remember, good intentions will not get you there. You must have a plan. Otherwise, your resolutions are just wishful thinking.

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