Career Advice

What are SMART Goals & How to Set them | Read now!6 min read

December 21, 2019 4 min read
SMART Goals

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What are SMART Goals & How to Set them | Read now!6 min read

Read­ing Time: 4 min­utes

Whether it is for per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al advan­tage, set­ting SMART goals is high­ly essen­tial. Many peo­ple keep float­ing from one job to anoth­er with­out gain­ing any ben­e­fits, in terms of expe­ri­ence. It also applies to those who aim to get a lot done but actu­al­ly accom­plish very less.

This is where set­ting goals come into the pic­ture. By set­ting SMART goals, you will use your time and resources pro­duc­tive­ly, along with gain­ing some clar­i­ty and focus on your goals. As a result, you will pro­found­ly increase your chances of achiev­ing what you had aimed for.

What Are SMART Goals?

The smart in SMART goals is an acronym. It stands for, Spe­cif­ic, Mea­sur­able, Attain­able, Rel­e­vant, and Time-Based. In order for a goal to be SMART, it should adhere to all five of these para­me­ters.

1. Specific

Spe­cif­ic goals define clear­ly what needs to be achieved in order for the goal to be accom­plished. The more clear­ly you define a goal, the less there is a chance for any mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of it.
For exam­ple, these are two dif­fer­ent ways of set­ting a goal:

a) Get a signed con­fir­ma­tion from 25 cus­tomers to enter the prod­uct beta list.
b) Talk to cus­tomers about the beta pro­gram.

In this case, (a) is con­sid­ered to be a SMART goal because it clear­ly spec­i­fies the goals in terms of what needs to be done to accom­plish it. Where­as (b) does not spec­i­fy any details. Mere­ly talk­ing to cus­tomers can not define what you have achieved but get­ting a writ­ten com­mit­ment is much more spe­cif­ic.

2. Measurable

Mea­sur­able goals deter­mine to quan­ti­fy the para­me­ter which needs to be ful­filled in order to accom­plish your goals. So to put this into per­spec­tive, eat­ing healthy is not a mea­sur­able goal, but eat­ing greens twice a day is.

For exam­ple,
a) Deliv­er prod­uct feed­back from 10 cus­tomers.
b) Run a sur­vey to get feed­back from cus­tomers.
In this case, (a) is con­sid­ered to be a SMART goal because it quan­ti­fies what needs to be deliv­ered to accom­plish the goal. Where­as (b) is not mea­sur­able at all.

3. Attainable

Set­ting attain­able goals means set­ting goals that are real­is­tic in nature. Attain­able goals uti­lize your abil­i­ties and at the same time, are pos­si­ble to accom­plish. So to set attain­able goals, con­sid­er the avail­abil­i­ty of resources, knowl­edge as well as time and decide which goals are real­is­tic and plau­si­ble.
For exam­ple,
a) Sched­ule meet­ings with 3 clients.
b) Meet all the clients dur­ing the prod­uct launch.
In this case, (a) is an attain­able goal because hold­ing meet­ings with 3 clients is pos­si­ble con­sid­er­ing the time and resources. But (b) is a high­ly unre­al­is­tic goal because meet­ing all the clients on the same day is not pos­si­ble.

4. Relevant

Goals need to be rel­e­vant to ensure they help you in achiev­ing your ulti­mate goal. In sim­ple words, your goals should be rel­e­vant to what you are aim­ing for in the big­ger pic­ture. Even if a goal might seem ben­e­fi­cial, if the tim­ing is not right, achiev­ing it will add no ben­e­fit to your over­all growth.
For exam­ple, if your over­all goal is to get client feed­back before an impor­tant prod­uct launch, then host­ing indus­tri­al con­ven­tions dur­ing this peri­od will be an irrel­e­vant goal. Because even though the con­ven­tion is a good means for net­work­ing and mar­ket­ing, it will not act any growth to your main goal i.e. col­lect­ing client feed­back before the launch.

5. Time-Based

Time-Based goals spec­i­fy the time frame with­in which the goal needs to be accom­plished. This not only moti­vates a per­son to work hard­er and meet the dead­line, but also achieves the over­all goal faster.
For exam­ple,
a) Onboard­ing 10 cus­tomers before the end of the week
b) Onboard­ing cus­tomers for the beta pro­gram.
In this case, (a) is a SMART goal because it spec­i­fies the time frame and puts a dead­line for meet­ing the tar­get. Where­as, (b) is nei­ther defined nor time-based.

How To Set SMART Goals?

Despite its effi­cien­cy, imple­ment­ing SMART goals is one of the least used strate­gies by pro­fes­sion­als. This is main­ly because most peo­ple are not aware of how to set SMART goals in their work life. Exe­cut­ing SMART goals through­out the com­pa­ny is the best way to estab­lish trans­paren­cy. This, in turn, makes every­one aware of what the com­pa­ny is accom­plish­ing on a larg­er as well as small­er scale.

Here are a few tips on how to set SMART goals at your work­place:

1. Bring Your Teams Together ‑Important SMART Goals strategy

The pri­ma­ry advan­tage of using SMART goals in the work­place is that it brings every­one on the same page. It con­veys in a pre­cise man­ner what needs to be done and by when. As a result, every team has one ulti­mate goal that they can col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly work on. Mean­while, it also ensures that their indi­vid­ual goals are being accom­plished.

2. Create A Schedule-part of SMART Goals strategy

Once you have fig­ured out how to set SMART goals, it is easy to start work­ing on them. But keep­ing every­one on track is much hard­er. It is quite com­mon for peo­ple to lose their focus and find them­selves less involved in work. To avoid such sit­u­a­tions, it is bet­ter to cre­ate a sched­ule and ensure peo­ple fol­low it. A sched­ule will define every­one’s goals and tar­gets. Hence, peo­ple are less like­ly to lose focus.

3. Regular Check-Ins: a SMART Goals example

Goals can­not be achieved overnight. It will take time to cross that fin­ish line. And for that, the goals have to be worked on reg­u­lar­ly and con­sis­tent­ly. This is the rea­son reg­u­lar check-ins need to be estab­lished. It will ensure your teams have not got­ten off track and are still mak­ing progress in a steady man­ner.

4. Accumulate Feedback-Strategy to overcome shortcomings

Mere­ly set­ting goals and expect­ing peo­ple to fol­low through is not enough. Every orga­ni­za­tion is dif­fer­ent in terms of pace as well as work cul­ture. Observe what works for your orga­ni­za­tion and gath­er feed­back from your peo­ple. This will not only send out a good mes­sage where peo­ple think they are heard but also give you a chance to improve your strat­e­gy for the next set of goals.

5. Celebrate Small Wins-Get optimum satisfaction

Last­ly, no mat­ter how small your achieve­ments might be, cel­e­brate! It is nor­mal for peo­ple to cel­e­brate only when the main goal is accom­plished. But acknowl­edg­ing small­er wins encour­ages peo­ple to work hard­er. And also keeps them going in the right direc­tion. In sim­ple words, it keeps your team’s moti­va­tion lev­els high.

So the next time your brain won­ders how to set SMART goals, just remem­ber that set­ting SMART goals is not that dif­fi­cult. All you need to do is fol­low one step at a time, fill­ing out one let­ter of the acronym after the oth­er. Don’t put your­self under the pres­sure of get­ting it right at the very first attempt. Try until you fig­ure out what works best for you and your work­place.

Washija is a versatile writer. She has a passion for content creation and is an avid reader.
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