How to Set Achievable Goals using the SMART Goal System
April 29, 2017
Download our free “How to Achieve Your SMART Goals” guide complete with templates to set and put a plan in place to achieve your own goals.
The idea of the SMART goal was conceived by a business psychologist named George Doran. The system ties strategic planning with implementation, which is the action necessary to produce change. According to the SMART criteria, goals need to be:
- S – specific
- M – measurable
- A – attainable
- R – relevant to the overall vision and mission of the business
- T – include a Timeframe for completion
To set a specific goal, you must answer the following 5 “W” questions:
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
- Who: Who is involved?
- Where: Identify a location.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Set realistic goals that you are able to achieve but which will stretch you. It is by pushing yourself that you will attain your goals. To set an attainable goal you must answer the “H” question:
- How: How can the goal be accomplished?
To be relevant, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. Look towards tying your goal in with your mission or vision statement. Your goal needs to be important to you and relevant to your ultimate business vision.
A goal should be grounded within a time frame. A goal must have a target date. Commitment to deadlines helps teams to focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. Goals without deadlines or schedules for completion tend to be overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organisation. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. To set a timely goal you must answer the sixth “W” question:
- When: Establish a time frame.
Examples of SMART goals
Poor Goal: Reduce customer complaints in service department
SMART Goal: Design and implement new customer complaint procedure in service department to reduce complaints from 30% to 5% of total business by 1 September 2017.
Poor Goal: Start new blog for business
SMART Goal: To achieve an increase in repeat business, start new blog site to be posted to once per week highlighting benefits of our product. All customers to be emailed an RSS feed link with a monthly newsletter sent out highlighting posts for that month. Blog to be established in one month with a newsletter and email to go out at the end of month two.