5 Tips for you to set up Effective and Realistic Quarterly Goals
Every year is the same thing; we start the year in January with a renewed motivation and some great New Year’s resolutions. But let’s be honest, 12 months is a very long time and it’s a huge challenge to build habits to reach those long-term goals, it doesn’t seem to take long for these resolutions and renewed motivations to fizzle out. After all, ideas and outcomes change day by day.
For this reason, quarterly goals come in handy for those businesses that don’t want to lose focus and keep track of their long-term visions. We have prepared this article with 5 tips for you to set up effective and realistic quarterly goals:
#1 Start planning for the year, then break it down into 4 steps:
That’s right! Although we set goals for the whole year, splitting these overall goals into 4 manageable and achievable parts is more effective. You have the entire year to achieve your goals, but you can, and should, prioritise by relevance. Don’t worry if we are already starting the second quarter of the year (yes, we are already in March!); you have time to reroute the following 9 months, then break them into 3 parts of 3 months.
Rerouting is part of the process; that’s the beauty of thinking quarterly! Every 3 months (12 weeks), you have the chance to tick the achievements and/or reroute the milestones that haven’t yet been reached. You can even break these achievements into days, weeks, or months subcategories, which means you always have a gap to make meaningful changes to reach your quarterly goals.
#2 Go with the seasons:
After splitting your main aspirations into more manageable goals, these should now be easier to track and digest; they should hopefully also be synched with the seasons, an important aspect many businesses forget when setting goals. Set benchmarks and subsequent strategies with the team to help achieve these goals for each quarter. Realistically arrange these milestones, spreading them between the team’s available skills and time.
#3 Set SMART realistic goals:
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland
SMART is an effective tool and concept used to guide your goals and make sure they are clear and reachable. Make sure your goals are:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
#4 Have regular meetings with the team:
One thing is right: if you don’t understand your team’s work process, the chances of losing sight of your goals, or the ability to achieve them, is inevitable. It is vital to understand the responsibilities and needs of everyone within the team. Therefore, organizing frequent meetings is the best way to receive and direct updates.
Monthly meetings are essential, and depending on the project’s needs, weekly meetings (30 minutes) to align milestones can also be efficient. However, be objective. Ask each individual for a general summary of what was done in the previous week, what will be done in the current week, and what is expected for the following week. Schedule a private meeting if you need to address any separate concerns or individuals. This will ensure you’re not taking up too much time from the rest of the team. Also, make sure the tasks are divided fairly – if someone on the team is overcharged and another is more relaxed, evaluate if it is possible to balance the work.
#5 Keep records of the projects and meetings:
How often have you felt you had an amazing meeting with the team, everything was on track, and next week things seem to be failing, and you just don’t know what has gone wrong?
That’s the type of stress you can avoid when you keep records of your meetings and detail the progress of each project. It can sometimes seem boring or not that necessary, but the bitter truth is that you can find yourself and your team in a huge problem when you don’t have the records of the time, costs, and tasks.
The old-school way is to create spreadsheets and reports of the achievements and milestones, but nowadays, tons of apps and software simplify the management of projects for you, and most of them can be downloaded for free.
Here are some handy tools that may help you and your organisation to keep track of the projects in collaboration with your team:
Airtable is an easy-to-use database and online collaboration. The user interface is simple, colourful and you can use the platform to organise inventories and track work.
Asana is an online team collaboration device specializing in workflow management. It’s an easy app for the teamwork to add, track and assign tasks while giving everyone visibility into the status of the work.
Basecamp is an online collaboration app that allows people to work together and communicate with one another with a place to chat on projects, events, and all types of assignments. You can use the app to keep track of tasks, deadlines, files, discussions, and announcements around the workplace and maintain ongoing conversations with colleagues and clients.
TeamGantt is the perfect app for groups that can’t dispense of Gantt charts. The online app is overly intuitive and easy to set up. You can invite teams and clients to collaborate on your Gantt charts or project plans.
Teamwork Projects provides a clear interface with tools to collaborate with colleagues on projects, own a holistic view of workflows, manage tasks, time track components, log your time, and deliver projects on time.
Todoist is an app with a task manager and great features for monitoring productivity, combining tasks, projects, comments, attachments, notifications, and lets you geek out on organizing everything you have to do.
Trello is an online kanban-board collaboration app. “Kanban” is a Japanese word for “visual signal,” and a kanban board is a project management tool used to visualize work, limit work in progress and maximize efficiency. Trello is, in fact, used more for groups of people to manage and track all kinds of work. It has simple drag-and-drop skills and an intuitive interface. Consider that it doesn’t have Gantt charts, tracking resources, or reporting tools, although you can add those functions through app integrations and plug-ins; however, they are omitted by default.
Quarterly goals effectively split your overall objectives into easier to track and manage, bite-sized chunks. This gives your business the ability to stay focused on the overall objectives and react appropriately when needed changes.
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