Are we there yet, when will we get there”?
How many times did I say that from the back seat of our family car? For some reason, I had the need to know when we would arrive so we could start having fun. My parent’s typical response was “we’ll be there soon”. Somehow this felt vague and led to more questions. A better answer would be a simple “we’ll be there in 10 minutes”. This simple time bound response required thought and planning, but would satisfy my question, and keep me seated for the balance of the trip (or at least for the next 10 minutes).
Our fifth and final term stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date (maybe even a time). A commitment to a deadline helps teams focus efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization.
A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency and should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:
- What can I do 6 months from now?
- What can I do 6 weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
For example, a typical goal would be, “increase community visibility and census by spending 50% less on current marketing.” A timely goal would say, “This year we will impact and increase community visibility and census while achieving 25% ROI on marketing. To accomplish this by December 31st of this year we’ll reduce ineffective marketing dollars spent, measuring each marketing expense against revenue received in the first six months after resident admission.” The key here is to frame the goal in time bound terms based on actual market conditions, budgets, time and resources available.
How are you going to be more time sensitive with your goals today? We challenge you to take a few extra moments to think about creating time-bound goals, simplifying each step, improving clarity, and making things happen!