Setting SMART goals can help Women scale their career ladder

When Ivy Ndirangu was hired as a customer service agent at a telecommunications company, she was determined to put her best foot forward and prove to her bosses that she was fit for the job and would deliver exemplary results for the growth of the company.

Her goal was to rise through the ranks, from a customer service agent, to a supervisor and later occupy a managerial position.

“I wanted to scale the ladder in my career within five years and I knew that to achieve this, I had to handle customer’s queries and concerns in a way that they would feel appreciated. This was for the best of the company and I knew that my seniors would be proud of me if I delivered good results. And indeed, it came to pass when within four years, I was promoted to the position of relationship officer,” says Ivy.

“I am still eyeing another top position and believe that with hard work and setting my goals right, I will be able to achieve it.”

Research has shown that having a goal setting agenda can affect behavior, hence increasing overall and persistent effort, leading to increased productivity and individual performance. 

Setting professional goals can help you complete certain tasks or projects and achieve any personal career goals you might have. You can also set your own goals if you are self-employed. Your career goals should address both your current situation and your larger long-term career ambitions.

Your goals should have five key elements to make them achievable. These five elements make up what is known as the “SMART goal” framework. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. 

How to set SMART goals

Here is how to set a SMART goal:

  • Make your goal as clear and detailed as possible

For example, instead of “I want to be better at public speaking,” you can say, “I want to successfully give a 10–15-minute presentation to an audience of 50 or more people.”

  • Define how you will measure success

If perhaps you want to switch from a job in sales to a job in marketing, you might set milestones along the way that address how to develop the skills and experience marketing employers are looking for. To do this, you might set your measurement as learning and focusing on one skill per month.

  • Check whether your goals are achievable

Setting goals you can accomplish within a reasonable timeframe will help keep you motivated and focused. You should work to understand the full scope of your goal ahead of time to ensure it is possible to accomplish.

  • Ensure that your goal is relevant

You should set goals that align with your values and contribute toward your long-term goals. Each goal you set should be relevant and meaningful to you, moving you closer toward where you want to be.

  • Set a beginning and end date

Setting a timetable to achieve your goal can help keep you motivated and on-schedule. Before setting a goal end-date, be sure to research all the milestones and possible roadblocks you might run into along the way. If your goal is to get promoted to the next level at your company, you might give yourself six months. If you haven’t achieved your goal, you might give yourself extended time or reconsider whether your goal is achievable and realistic.

Sources: University of Rochester, Player’s Hub, Brian Tracy International

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