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