Don’t Resolve, Set Goals

January 26, 2016

Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2016?

Chances are that if you haven’t yet broken your resolution you will. Most New Year’s resolutions disappear faster than the foam on the champagne. Why? Because most resolutions are too vague, too hard to measure and too easy to put aside. Often resolutions are about stopping some behavior.

Being a goal oriented person myself, I find striving for a goal is more “positive” and that resolutions tend towards the “negative”. We have a goals program here at Sea-Land that provides all employees a chance to work towards several goals and with completion opportunity for additional compensation. It’s called SMART Goals and it’s a system that helps our employees stretch beyond what they perceive as their limits by establishing and achieving goals in a measurable way.

SMART Goals must meet the following criteria to be valid:

  • Specific – goals should be simply written and clearly define what is to be achieved.
  • Measurable – goals should be measurable to provide tangible evidence of their accomplishment.
  • Achievable – goals should stretch you slightly so that you feel challenged, but defined well enough so that they can be achieved. You must possess the appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities needed to achieve the goal.
  • Results-focused – goals must measure outcomes, not activities.
  • Time-Bound – goals should be linked to a time frame that creates a practical sense of urgency or results in tension with current time reality.

Here is a simple example from an employee who was tasked with increasing the efficiency of implementing price corrections.

  • Goal Description: reduce costs associated with implementing new product pricing.
  • Measurement: reduction in costs for postage, paper/envelopes and staff time for printing, envelope stuffing and mailing by 40 percent. Reduction of mailing, faxing and manual emailing of information by 70 percent.
  • Method: automatic email distribution of personalized price increase/decrease letters.

SMART goals don’t strictly need to be about dollars and cents. We apply smart goals to other issues, such as building leadership skills, increasing participation at work or improving networking skills. It all depends on how you break it down into manageable and measurable steps.

I will admit that our goals program has changed over the years and will keep evolving as we look for better ways of doing things. That is actually one of my own goals, always be looking for new ways to assist employees with their goals. How do you set and meet goals in your office? Email me your thoughts at

All the Best,

Joe Clayton

President, Sea-Land Chemical Co.