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Tips For Setting Effective SMART Goals

9 min read
Last Updated on 28 July, 2021
Tips For Setting Effective SMART Goals

Team goal setting is fundamental in any organization. Goal setting allows you to control your team's work direction. It provides you with a benchmark to determine whether you can meet the business objectives. And if you are not using SMART goals, you could be setting yourself back.

A goal properly set is halfway reached.- Zig Ziglar

Your teams need goals to be productive. A specific goal-setting criterion leads to a faster performance improvement than the general outlines, which are vague with no sense of direction.

Over time, many have established several strategies of practical goal setting. Out of all, the SMART GOALS framework brings the best traceability and results into your goals and objectives.

In this post, you'll find the most up-to-date tips and examples for setting and achieving SMART goals.

What Are SMART Goals?

A SMART goal is a carefully designed target. It enables managers and employees to build, track and achieve short and long-term objectives. There are a number of interpretations of the acronym's meaning. But according to the most common approach, your goals should be SMART as in, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

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Specific- The goal should be particular and precisely defined.

Measurable- The goal should be identifiable success metrics.

Achievable- The goal should be realistic to attain, given the time and resources.

Relevant- We should be able to align the goals with the overall objective.

Timely- We should make time-based efforts for well-received goals.

The November 1981 issue of ” Management Review” contained a paper by George T. Doran called ”There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.

Here Are Some Tips For Setting SMART Goals:

SPECIFIC

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SMART goals are well-defined and particular. It is necessary for a goal to be specific in order for it to be effective. Specificity provides you with a clear focus required to get the most out of your efforts.

As a manager, decide what your group members should hope to achieve weeks from now. Then write down one specific goal following this goal-setting formula:

I will (goal + performance measure) by (specific actions).

For example, in the case of sales team's performance management, it will be like:

We will increase our sales by additional 10% in 3 months by running extra promotions.

When it comes to creating SMART goals, prepare to ask a lot of questions of yourself and other members.

To be specific, you should include an answer to the popular ‘W’ questions: who, what, why, where, and which. For example-

  1. Who will play a part in achieving this goal? This is particularly crucial when working on a collective project.

  2. What tools and techniques do they need to do this? Precisely consider what you want to achieve, and don't be hesitant to go into detail.

  3. Why is the goal significant? This answer should most likely be related to company growth or professional advancement.

  4. Where will the job be? This question may not always be applicable, especially if you're setting personal goals. But if there's a relevant location or event, it's worth considering.

  5. Which resources are required to do that? Determine if there is any related obstacle. This question might assist you determine whether your goal is attainable.

Before setting your goal, look at your data set for relevant insights. Writing down a vision statement will assist your group members implement the strategies for growth. Make your statement as specific as you can by defining precisely what you hope to achieve.

MEASURABLE

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It tells you to break down the efforts into specific sub-goals, making them measurable and practical to accomplish the overall SMART goal.

A measurable goal helps to know how you are doing and how much progress you have made. Thus, it provides a tangible means to evaluate success.

It can be recorded routinely and analyzed to know if the efforts are being practical.

Measurement of goals can sometimes be challenging. Managers, supervisors, and employees may have to work together to find the most appropriate and feasible data sources and analysis methods.

How To Measure The Progress Of SMART Goals:

1. Establish Metrics.

Metrics prove to be a great medium of performance management. Without predetermined metrics, as a manager, you cannot determine whether your group is performing up to the mark or not.

Let’s take an example.

If you say, "Get more responses from cold emails.", it is difficult to understand the achievable.

But if we say, "Get 50% more conversion rate from cold emails." it can help your members clearly understand your expectations.

Here, 'conversion rate' acts as the metric that inspires everyone to work related to the set SMART goal.

2. Sit with your group.

It's challenging to motivate people to do something unless they want to do it.- Eden Chen of Fishermen Labs

Meetings can be an open opportunity to come together, reflect on progress and assist each other. It can be in the form of:

*Weekly status update meets: The primary ctive here is to update the progress, challenges, and the next steps towards the final goal.

Monthly OKRs (Objectives and Key Results): It plays a significant role in shaping today’s OKRs. With monthly OKR meets, you can track the progress and boost team morale.

Under each objective, there should be 3-5 measurable key results. We can measure each key result on a score of 0-100% or 0 to 1.0. Based on the OKR status, you can adjust the work course if needed to suit the long-term goal.

Problem-solving meets- Occasional meetings are essential to ensure a smooth approach towards your goal. It identifies priorities, opportunities, and threats. In the same sitting, possible solutions should be brainstormed, evaluated, and agreed upon by all the members.

Individual meet- Know how each individual is feeling about his or her role. There can be matters that they don’t want to bring up in the group meetings. Not addressing individual issues can negatively impact team performance.

It's true that you hired them to fulfil a specific function within your company, but chances are they have their own growth goals. Please take a few minutes to have a conversation with your group members individually. Get a sense of their priorities and help them achieve it.

ACHIEVABLE

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Before you create your SMART goals, make sure that it is attainable- by reference to the abilities of your members.

There might be a combination of things weighing on the minds of your group members urging them to quit midway. Therefore, before setting a goal, make sure that it is realistic- something possible to achieve. It would save your employees from getting demotivated.

Make a list of all the skills, knowledge, and information they will need to set up an attainable goal. Almost all plans will require that your team members improve their abilities in some way. Please help them to be active and focused on the vision.

However, resist your urge to set goals that are too easy for your squad. It can bring fear while accomplishing complicated goals in the future. As a manager, you should learn to hit the right balance that your team needs.

RELEVANT

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Your goals should be relevant to the overriding objectives of the organization.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example:

Suppose you have a website that sells employee engagement products with a blogging space. A goal of writing 10-15 blogs in a week would be completely irrelevant if it doesn't lead to more sales of the products.

In simple words, SMART goals should provide value and be aligned with the company’s overall strategies.

TIMELY

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This step is crucially important because it supports all the others. Make your goal time-bound by defining an opening and closing date for your goal. A goal that has no start and no end cannot be specified or measurable, therefore it will be impossible to achieve.

So, what does a timely goal mean? It means that your goal will be achieved within a suitable and realistic time, avoiding any premature conclusion. Every goal must have a deadline so that you can be sure about when you can achieve it.

Each time your employees reach a sub-goal, make sure they push themselves a little more complicated. It will ensure a better movement towards their long-term SMART goal.

SMART Goals To SMARTER Goals

They say, “Children cry for it; grown men die for it. It's nothing but recognition.

Many managers have taken this SMART goal-setting process to a new level by adding an ‘ER’ to SMART, making it a SMARTER Goal.

Here,'E' stands for Evaluation of your achievement regularly. And
'R'stands for Recognition (or Reward) when a particular goal is achieved (or Revisited when not.)

To motivate workers, always offer positive recognition for an achievement. It boosts a person's self-esteem, improves their self-image and encourages them to do much more and better in the future.

Here Are Few SMART Goals Examples

1. For an Editorial Team.

Specific: I want to increase the blog traffic by 10% during the next three months.

Measurable: We will re-optimize the ten best blogs to make them better and aim for at least 15 high-quality backlinks to them.

Achievable: Getting backlinks may take time. After re-optimizing the ten blogs in 15 days, we should approach at least 100 new websites for back linking to achieve the goal.

Relevant: Blog traffic will let potential customers know about our customers. This plan is the best way to increase product sales.

Timely: We have three months to achieve the goal, which will help the business grow in the next financial quarter.

2. For a Customer Help Desk.

Specific: We have to deliver customer support with an 80%+ Satisfied/Very Satisfied customer satisfaction rate by the end of March.

Measurable: After every month, we will objectively measure whether we can achieve the target.

Achievable: With an improvement in the customer experience, it is feasible.

Relevant: As long as customers stay satisfied, they will prefer buying our goods. Thus, it will help in promoting customer retention in the long run.

Timely: We set four months time frame to attain this goal.

3. For an HR Management Team.

Specific: To meet the increasing demands of our services, we aim to increase our employees' headcount from 1500-1900 in 1 year.

Measurable: Fast forward six months, we aim to take in at least 250 new people.

Achievable: Like the previous years, we can receive thousands of applications using a systematic process for employee recruitment. Only the right candidate pool can contribute to the needs of the organization. Here, selection is the real challenge.

Relevant: It goes with our goal of overall increased revenue for the year, which demands at least 50% more return per employee.

Timely: We will accomplish this in one year of duration.

Having SMART social media goals will allow you to get the most out of social media accounts geared towards your business.

CONCLUSION

All the SMART goal steps might not happen in order all the time, and that's all right. Each step should make sense to your team's performance. Consider choosing the steps in an order that fits in your picture.

Setting SMART goals can be a bit challenging for organizations. But, dedication and a well-thought-out strategy can certainly help.

3 Quick Tips To Plan Out Your SMART Goals Strategy:

  1. Check in with yourself on a regular basis to see how well you're doing. As your project develops, you might need to make changes in your SMART plans.

  2. Don't forget to celebrate your achievements. For that, you don't have to wait until your entire goal is completed. Celebrating small wins and milestones can often help you stay on track.

  3. According to Jay Abraham, a well-known businessman and marketing strategist, "thinking a task differently has power." So, a smart goal can help you overcome your fear of failure. You must embrace self-discovery to manage your emotions and reach your optimal efficiency.

Recommended Read: Epic Goal Setting Quotes For A Successful Year

If you enjoyed reading this post, please recommend and share it to help others to apply it.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest to research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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