Earlier this month, we talked about setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This is a tried-and-true strategy for setting goals that you can achieve and a plan to make them happen.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes setting goals simply isn’t enough for me.  What happens when you set SMART goals and find yourself getting frustrated or falling short?

Knowing what you want is one part of the equation towards accomplishing your goals. And systems can be the missing link between goals that remain unattained and those that are achieved or even exceeded.

For example, if your goal is to improve your customer service responsiveness by 25%, your system could be assigning a particular person to respond to customer inquiries and complaints within an hour.  ,What would happen if you had no customer satisfaction  goal but still followed that responsiveness  plan? You’d likely still improve your customer service metrics, possibly even more than your original goal. Regardless, the end result will be a healthier relationship with your clients.

When you set a goal of improving customer service responsiveness by 25%, what happens once you’ve accomplished the goal through heroic means? Often, we stop focusing on the goal, lose our discipline, and slip right back into those old habits..

With a system, however, you don’t stop responding within an hour to customer service requests. You keep on going! The end result is your teams continually improving customer service responsiveness.

Indeed, a system is another word for a habit, and habits are our default behavior. So if we want to reach our goals, implementing systems, that change our habits, is the way to go.

Designing and implementing a system that will result in the same achievements as your original goals could be the key to not only exceeding expectations but prevent slipping back into old patterns and habits that undermine your achievement.

Consider how a set of smart systems could help your team be more effective, overcome obstacles and achieve more than ever before. What if, after you worked with your team to set SMART goals, you worked backwards to determine everything they need to do - quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily - to achieve those goals. Then, you implement that system that will reset your team’s habits, and ask your team to focus on sticking to it day in and day out with their eye on doing their best work each day instead of on the end goal.

Don’t toss those goals out the window. DO implement smart systems to ensure you and your team achieves them. SMART goals + a system = real success for your team, the ability to overcome obstacles and a way to prevent falling back on old, ineffective habits.