Setting goals is the first step to getting the most out of your Synario financial model. Without measurable goals, your planning can quickly become directionless, easily swayed to show unrealistic or unattainable future scenarios.
At Synario, we help clients set SMART goals, standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Holding both strategic and financial goals to the SMART standard can institutionalize the use of your Synario model as a progress-tracking tool.
SMART goals are grounded in a realistic projection of what is possible for your organization and team. Below is a breakdown of what it means to set a SMART goal for your Synario model:
Make sure your goals contain specific attributes that can be measured and tracked. Measurability may seem self-evident, but setting the specific, trackable components of a goal can quickly become a balancing act between too much or too little detail.
For example, setting a SMART goal around company revenue over the next five years lacks the specific details required to meet the SMART standard. However, setting individual products’ monthly sales goals would be too much detail for you to track within your financial model effectively. A balance between these two approaches may be to set an annual revenue growth goal for each sales division within your organization. This approach would give you the required specificity to meet the SMART goal standard while not hindering your ability to monitor the organization’s performance toward that goal.
When a goal is specific, it should also be measurable and trackable. Goals set around KPIs are a great way to start out creating SMART goals. Every organization has key drivers that represent the financial health or success of the business. These drivers are often tracked from a short-term operational perspective and, with Synario, can now be reliably projected into the future. These projections around these types of key drivers make excellent measurable SMART goals.
ACHIEVABLE / ATTAINABLE
Ensure your goals are within reach for a given team, division, or organization (making an exception for stretch or aspirational goals.) Setting SMART goals that are not grounded in reality can cause model buy-in to plummet from team members and stakeholders as milestones are continually unmet month after month or year after year.
The Relevant aspect of a SMART goal should be created hand-in-hand with the Specific aspect. A Relevant goal will move your team, division, and organization towards a strategically better and more financially sustainable future. An organization’s mission statement should be the driving force behind a goal’s relevance to the institution. Asking yourself, “Does this goal move us more in line with our mission statement?” is a great practice to maintain relevance for every SMART goal.
Incorporating deadlines and date-defined milestones is a crucial practice in everything from goal setting to daily-task prioritization. SMART goals rely on the Time-Based aspect to maintain accountability for those responsible for the goal. Although the standard practice for teams is to make multiple people responsible for a given goal, this can be detrimental to its execution. Establishing a single person as accountable for a Time-Based goal makes overall goal accountability easier and limits lack of ownership across multiple team members.
Finance professionals often build financial models to help them prepare for a specific board meeting or presentation. By limiting the use of a model to one meeting or presentation, these users are limiting their SMART goals and forfeiting the opportunity to engage the organization in a richer conversation about their financial future.
To get the most out of your model, make sure that you branch away from one meeting, team, project, or type of goal. For example, not all your organization’s members will be responsive or engaged with a financial model whose only goal is to project KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) into the future. It is crucial to balance your SMART goals with cross-division aspirational goals. These types of objectives will bring buy-in from non-finance (or even non-numerical) leaders, stakeholders, and team members.
For every few SMART goals you create and track with your Synario financial model, we suggest that you add at least one aspirational goal, project, or initiative that would significantly alter your organization’s financial or strategic trajectory.
When crafting your organization’s SMART and aspirational goals, incorporate new team members, divisions, and initiatives into the discussion. Please read our other content on Collaborating with Colleagues or watch the webinar where we discuss how to build and enable an effective modeling team.
Have additional questions about setting SMART goals for your organization? Or how you can track those goals within Synario? Reach out to your Synario Customer Success representative today.