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QUICK TIPS: Setting Seriously SMART Goals

Updated: Jan 3

Whether the objective is at an organisational, departmental, team or individual level, use the helpful acronym SMART to structure your objectives.

What is SMART?

SMART objectives are a framework for setting clear and well-defined goals. Using this framework can enhance individual and team performance, contribute to organisational success, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

  • Specific: Well defined, clear and unambiguous

  • Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress toward the accomplishment of the objective

  • Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve

  • Relevant: Relevant to your Vision, Mission, Values and Goals

  • Timebound: With a clearly defined timeline, including a start date and a target date

TIP: When applying the acronym in practice try reordering the letters:

Specific, Measurable, Timebound then reflect and ask is this objective Achievable and Relevant?

There are many benefits of using SMART to set your objectives:

  1. Clarity: SMART objectives provide a clear and precise definition of what needs to be achieved. This clarity helps in understanding the goal and facilitates effective communication among team members.

  2. Focus: The specificity of SMART objectives helps in maintaining focus on the key priorities. It helps teams avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant tasks and ensures that efforts are concentrated on what truly matters.

  3. Measurability: SMART objectives require that goals are measurable, meaning progress can be tracked and assessed. This allows for the identification of success and areas that may need improvement, providing a basis for performance evaluation.

  4. Achievability: Setting goals that are realistic and achievable is crucial for motivation and morale. SMART objectives ensure that goals are challenging but attainable, promoting a sense of accomplishment when they are met.

  5. Relevance: Goals should be relevant and aligned with the overall objectives of an organization or project. The "R" in SMART encourages individuals and teams to consider the importance and appropriateness of the goal within the broader context.

  6. Time-bound: The time-bound aspect of SMART objectives sets a deadline for achieving the goal. This helps create a sense of urgency, preventing procrastination, and providing a clear timeline for evaluating progress.

  7. Motivation: SMART objectives can be motivating because they provide a clear roadmap for success. Achieving well-defined goals enhances motivation and boosts confidence, as progress is tangible and measurable.

  8. Improved Decision-making: With clear objectives in place, decision-making becomes more straightforward. Teams can assess whether a particular action aligns with the established SMART goals, aiding in prioritisation and resource allocation.

  9. Enhanced Communication: SMART objectives facilitate better communication within teams and organizations. When goals are specific and measurable, everyone involved has a shared understanding of what success looks like, reducing misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

  10. Continuous Improvement: The measurable and time-bound elements of SMART objectives allow for ongoing evaluation and adjustment. Teams can learn from their experiences, adapt their strategies, and continuously improve their performance over time.

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About the author.

Hi, I'm Heather Beckett - the founder of BPO. I help small business owners to think, plan and act more strategically.

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