Saturday 8 December 2018

5 Steps Set a SMART Goal



A Smart does mean smart, but the SMART we will discuss here is a smart way to develop and build a business.

The SMART is a philosophy used to help you set goals and goals, for example in project management, employee performance management, or personal development. Some people equate it with the term KPI (Key Performance Indicators).

What is SMART?


  • S - Specific - Significant, Stretching, Simple

  • M - Measurable - Meaningful, Motivational, Manageable

  • A - Attainable - Appropriate, Achievable, Adjustable, Ambitious, Aligned, Action-focused

  • R - Relevant - Result-Based, Results-oriented, Resourced, Resonant, Realistic

  • T - Timely - Time framed, Timed, Time-based, Time-bound, Time-Specific, Timetabled

Some people love to add it with the suffix 'ER' to 'SMARTER'. E = Enjoyable, R = Relevant.

Setting a SMART Target

As Paul J. Meyer describes in his book Attitude is Everything, here are some explanations of the SMART characteristics in setting targets:


This first word emphasizes the importance of setting specific targets; really specific. Avoid overly general or less detailed targets. Targets should not be ambiguous, must be clear, and be exposed in plain language. For example, set a target like this: " increase sales from 500 to 1000 apples a day " and avoid " increase turnover from apple sales per day ".

To set specific goals, you must convey to the team all your specific expectations and wishes, why it is important, who will be involved, which will be executed, and what attributes are important. A specific goal (target) will usually answer this "5W" question:

    • What: what do I want to achieve?

    • Why: Why should it be achieved? (specific reasons, goals and benefits of achieving those targets)

    • Who: Who is involved?

    • Where: Where will the target be achieved? (location identification)

    • Which: Identify requirements to achieve targets and obstacles that hinder the achievement of targets.


The second word emphasizes the importance of the criteria used to measure the magnitude of progress made in achieving the target. The philosophy behind this point is: " If the target can not be measured, it is impossible to know whether you have made progress in achieving its ultimate goal ". Measuring progress will help teams stay on track, keep deadlines, and feel the passion and euphoria of achieving encouraging results in every achievement that brings them closer to the goal.

A measurable target will be able to answer one of the questions:

    • How many?

    • How do you know that the target has been achieved?


The third word emphasizes that targets must be realistic and achievable. The target should not be made too easy (for your team's standard performance), but it should not be too difficult to make it impossible to achieve. The target set will be achieved if: you have determined what is most important, then able to imagine step-by-step to make it happen. For that, you will develop the behavior, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to achieve it.


The fourth word emphasizes the importance of choosing the right target. The targets made by the bank manager to make " 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before 2 pm " could be a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Timely target, but not Relevant. Often you need the support of various parties to achieve targets: resources, input from Champion, and anything that can help break down barriers. Relevant targets for your boss, your team, and your organization will get the support you need.

Relevant targets, if achieved, will encourage more advanced teams, departments, and organizations. A target that supports or aligns with other targets will be considered as a relevant target.

A relevant target will give a 'yes' answer to all these questions:

    • Is this target worth fighting for?

    • Is this target at the right time?

    • Do these targets match your other needs and targets?

    • Are you the right person to pursue this target?


The fifth word emphasizes the importance of matching targets with time frames, ie providing deadlines of target achievement. Commitment to deadlines will help the team stay focused on working to meet targets on time, or even faster. It is part of the SMART philosophy that protects the targets of everyday crisis attacks that are common in organizations. Targets with deadlines will create urgency.

Targets with deadlines will answer the following questions:

    • When?

    • Can what we do (finish) in 6 months from now?

    • What can I do (finish) in 6 weeks from now?

    • What can I do (finish) today?


In the context of agile, I've found SMART goals to be useful when discussing action items to come out of retrospectives. True, there's no reason these couldn't be treated just like INVEST stories. But I've found that selling something half-a-century-tried-and-true can be a little easier with some crowds.

SMART Goal Setting

For many, the New Year is a time to set resolutions. However, keep in mind that although it’s great to say you want to eat better, spend more time with family, or get that promotion, these statements are merely dreams until concrete goals are set.

As you reflect on the resolutions you’ve made, or are considering making, you may find the SMART goal formula a helpful framework. Ensuring your resolutions are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-limit is a great way to secure your success.

To set a SMART goal, ask yourself:

  1. What do I specifically want to achieve? Goals need to be specific – something like, “I want to eat better” is too broad and vague. Think about what “eating better” means to you, personally – is it simply cutting out the fast food, trying a vegetarian diet, or going gluten free?

  2. How will I know when I’ve reached my goal? You won’t know you’ve reached a goal unless you’ve got some way to measure it, tracking your progress along the way.

  3. Is this something that I can truly do? Goals should be achievable. If there is a freeze on promotions within your organization, then setting a goal to get a promotion may not be something you can achieve, unless you’re considering moving to a different organization.

  4. Is this goal relevant to my work/life? If you’re seeking to achieve something that isn’t relevant to you personally, then you’re not likely to achieve it; it won’t hold your interest or be a priority if the relevance isn’t there.

  5. When will I complete my goal? A time frame for goal attainment is absolutely necessary to ensure you’re able to set out a plan to achieve your goal.

After you’ve ensure your goal is SMART, break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces, and structure an action plan connecting each phase (or step). Not only does this make your goal seem less daunting, but it also allows you to celebrate small successes along the way.

Remember, setbacks are natural, so don’t punish yourself. Get yourself back on track by staying flexible, revisiting and adjusting your goal, and, if necessary, reaching out for support.

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