Don’t let your firm stutter and stall by not taking goal-setting seriously. Research proves that scientific, measured, targeted and focused goal setting works. Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric, advocates the use of ‘stretch’ goals to achieve the best results.

Here are 5 steps to help you treat goal-setting as one of your business-critical tasks:

Your goals must be stretch goals – they must be goals that really stretch you, your team and your firm. Work out outcome stretch goals and process stretch goals for your firm, like Jack Welch did at General Electric and get your people involved in achieving them

Your stretch goals must be specificuse the SMART Checklist (below) to check you have your goals planned correctly

Your stretch goals must be written down – we all work better with a list, something that is tangible and we can refer to – use SMART Checklist (below) to help

Anticipate and plan for the difficulties – work out the hurdles you will encounter on the way to achieving your goals, then work out how to deal with them if they happen.

Create regular feedback and reward behaviours – the key to the success or failure of your goal achievement is to make goals a habitual part of your firm’s weekly and monthly routine. Regular feedback and rewards for progress and achievement will help confirm this habit and increase the motivation and enthusiasm of the team.


The SMART goal concept is accepted as a practical and easy to remember mnemonic strategy for goal setting. The research from Locke and Latham (from their ‘goal-setting theory’) supports the effectiveness of setting SMART goals.

S goals must be Specific

M goals must be Measurable

A goals must be Attainable

R goals they must be Relevant to you

T goals must be Time bound

However, one element of SMART can get in the way of your high performance!

Locke and Latham’s research strongly suggests that the middle A (Attainable) won’t stretch your firm enough …so, to keep stretch goals SMART, swap attainable for Awesome!

Making goals-setting alive every day or every week will bring your firm the success you want. Isn’t it time to start using SMART stretch goals in your Accountancy firm?