Recent business conversation all seems to agree that 2017 may be a breakout year in the American economy. The prospect of regulations being removed, and the spending of those large reservoirs of cash major companies are sitting on, suggest corporate America is willing to take some risks in the coming year.

 This exciting but it is also very challenging. Leaders must set realistic goals that can be met. They must be well-thought-out and with proper execution planned. It is not going to be easy. Goal setting is going to be on the bucket list of every business leader as we move into the first quarter of the new year.

Goal Creation

The coming year is going to have a lot of opportunities which can be capitalized on if a leader sets the proper goals. A goalsetting checklist can help start the process. The leader must keep in mind what resources are available, and what new skills may be necessary to achieve a given goal. If there is a need for certain types of resources, such as software, it must be included in the budget and a leader must be willing to do what is necessary to obtain what is needed.

Being Mindful of Pitfalls

Leaders are only human and they operate in an office atmosphere which may be highly political. There are dangers along the way and setting goals and a sensible leader must be alert to them. The mistakes happen in various areas.

  1. Avoiding Tough Goals. Only setting goals that are highly achievable is not going to do much for overall success. Tough goals need to be realistic but they can challenge team members and subordinates to put in extra effort.
  2. Being Too Vague. This is true with timetables. Unless there is a specific end date, people will not put forth great effort.
  3. No Reward or Consequences. Not every subordinate is going to do a great job and a leader needs to establish measures for success. The reward must be sufficient for a person to put forth the effort, and the consequences need to be stern enough to discourage people from slacking.
  4. Putting Too Much on the Plate. There is only so much a leader can expect of his or her subordinates. Several goals that are doable is more important than creating a lot of benchmarks that have no chance of being achieved


Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based are all part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting design. A leader must determine exactly what is going to be accomplished and the actions which will be taken, the measures and benchmarks, whether a specific goal is achievable given the existing resources and skills, how the goal fits with the broader corporate goals, and what is the timeframe.

S.M.A.R.T. causes a leader to be very focused in planning goals. They cannot be spur of the moment ideas or inspirations. That is especially important for entrepreneurs and small business owners, who are used to moving on a whim or a hunch. Small establishments are going to have to be very structured when it comes to goal setting to succeed in the coming year. Following the S.M.A.R.T. outline is going to help any leader create realistic goals.

Goal setting does not have to follow complicated algorithms or matrix designs. Many times, writing down the goals will help bring clarity the entire process. A leader can write down goals on a piece of paper, or type it on a Word document, and then establish a plan of action from that.

A leader also must be able to use all the skills he or she has in their personal toolbox. The goals that are set must be achievable, and leader must decide how he will proactively motivate team members and subordinates. Communication is going to be essential, because everyone must be on board for these goals to be met in the coming year. Being realistic is going to be a very essential quality for designing goals in the coming year. Finally, a leader must keep an eye on the prize. Goals reached move the organization forward in a highly competitive market place. 2017 can be a very productive and profitable year. The right goals will make that happen.