Are you looking for SMART goals examples to apply to your team? Well, we know that establishing new objectives for an ongoing business is never easy, but it can work perfectly if you have the right strategy.
When you define a goal, it is important to have in mind that it will demand part of the team’s focus, as well as company resources; and maybe, all that energy and focus should have been directed to another task, related to more important matters.
As even though setting goals that meet different macro objectives of the company is almost always beneficial, there are some disadvantages in setting too many goals at the same time.
The truth is that many companies tend to have difficulties in planning and defining objectives. Quite often, even if the final objectives are achieved, no real benefits are brought to the core business. Eventually, it ends up being a pointless effort.
And as Peter Drucker said: “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”
Sometimes, people set goals that are simply not achievable. While this can bring some motivation and engagement to the team at first, they usually lead to frustration and disappointment when not accomplished.
That’s why you definitely need to start working with SMART goals and see some examples. This methodology seeks assertiveness in defining the objectives of a company, aiming to write realistic and comprehensible set points for anyone to see and understand where they need to go.
In this article you will learn how to use SMART goals simply and effectively with some practical examples. As a result, your team will have an even greater performance!
It was in 1981 that George T. Doran published an article called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives”. After that, the theory was refined by scholars and marketers.
SMART goals can be defined as the ideal solution to ensure that people and companies are working together to achieve the same goal. Everyone involved must know exactly how to get there. Organizations that use this methodology usually notice an increase in team engagement, productivity and sales performance.
SMART goals are defined by a pattern that is very easy to remember, as the acronym SMART stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time based
So, the SMART method aims to give specific characteristics to a goal in a consistent way. To that end, the goal needs to meet all five criteria listed above. The objective is that everyone involved is clear about what needs to be done and how.
Have you ever thought about the efficiency gains your team would have if each member could fully understand an objective, instead of seeing it from an isolated point of view?
To get an idea, imagine that the marketing team aims to “grow on social media”. This is a non-objective goal, right? At no time was it said what should grow exactly, or even “how much” it should grow, nor was it given a deadline for it to happen. By the way, which social media? Done this way, the team wouldn’t know where to go or how to track the results.
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As you can see, setting SMART goals will be a true milestone for your company, as it will promote opportunities and bring better results by focusing endeavors in the same direction. Now, straight to the point: how do you write SMART goals?
We have reached the high point of this article. If you’ve made it this far, you’re really interested in changing the game. Congratulations! The first step in setting SMART goals is having the desire to create something new.
First, you will need to understand the meaning of each of the letters behind the acronym SMART. By understanding these five concepts, you will be able to create the right goals easily. Are you ready?
A good objective must be precise, it cannot leave room for interpretation or mislead. So when creating SMART goals, you should start with a clear, simple and objective statement. For example, don’t say you want to “live a healthier life”, when you could say “increase your vegetable consumption” or “go to the gym three times a week”, instead.
Reading the example above, do you see the difference in setting a specific, and therefore, easy to understand goal? We frequently fall into the temptation of creating overarching goals, because they sound very comfortable and simple. But the truth is that the more specific the objective, the more concrete the results will be.
When you set a goal that deviates from this pattern, it is common for each person on your team to have a different vision, to understand it in a different way (as much as it doesn’t seem like it). While some collaborators will believe they are almost at the end, others will still visualize themselves at the beginning of the path. It gets confusing, doesn’t it?
So be clear, say exactly what you want to achieve and, whenever possible, choose something that will bring added benefits. For example, “increase 30% in revenue for the year” will allow you to have more money to invest in media and, consequently, sell more.
A clear objective is one that can be measured. Tracking goals is part of team management and opens space for making quick decisions. Sometimes, to reach a goal, it is necessary to change course. What is not measurable can be considered little (or not at all) strategic —keep this in mind when thinking about how to evaluate smart goals.
Define what milestones you want to reach and when. This will allow you to follow trends as well as take advantage of small achievements to celebrate with your team. A sense of accomplishment helps to keep people focused and happy. And believe it, you want the opportunity to reevaluate situations when the trend is not the best.
It’s crucial to work with goals that can be measured, whether in actual numbers or a percentage. So, if the goal is “grow sales by 20% next semester”, your team could and should set little landmarks of 5%, 10% and 15% along several weeks, and meet to evaluate what’s working and what needs to be improved.
Doing this allows the team to monitor the indicators weekly and thus calculate how much to sell in the remaining days. And of course, if sales are great, the manager can apply commission modifiers or propose a celebration event.
Many people fall into the trap of setting impossible goals for themselves or their teams in order to achieve a miracle. However, while impossible goals may push you forward for a bit, your team will surely give up on them at some point and this will cause frustration and demotivation.
It is normal to create expectations regarding our own performance; and although it is impossible to do everything at the same time, we are used to accumulating personal goals each year. There is no miracle, ok? The secret of successful people is doing what really needs to be done, one step at a time.
As much as dreaming big is inspiring and allows you to go further, at some point it will become tiring. It’s human nature to want to complete tasks, and doing so gives us the strength to keep going. Avoid disappointing your team with unattainable goals; think of something challenging, but at the same time achievable.
The trick is to invite everyone involved in the goal setting moment. People on the front lines have the vision to point out what can really be done.This will give you a much better chance of setting truly SMART goals.
How do you set a SMART goal? First of all, think about whether it is really relevant to your business. There is little or no point in reaching a goal that is not aligned with your company’s main strategy. Assess whether the goal you are proposing will bring solid benefits that are consistent with the overall vision. At the end of the day, will it make sense to have delivered that result? If a goal isn’t really relevant to your business, you’re wasting your team’s time and energy (not to mention financial resources).
Finally, SMART goals need to be time based. For example, instead of saying “I want to read more books”, you could say “I’m going to read two books in the following three months”.
Notice that the second goal gives a better chance of success, as it establishes a concrete time frame to achieve it.
The second goal fits perfectly with the SMART pattern! It’s time based (T), specific (S), focused and measurable (M) in relation to time and quantity, as well as achievable (A) and relevant (R). After all, a good book is always helpful!
When defining a goal, ask yourself how long it will be active. This is a crucial point, because it can mess with all the other elements.
If you don’t set a deadline, you’ll find more excuses than results. Metrics will become useless as there will always be more time. In fact, after a certain amount of time, an objective can lose its relevance.
Setting deadlines for all the goals you want to achieve is a good way of tying up loose ends and creating a story with a beginning, middle and end.
Now that you know the key concepts, we can talk about examples of how to achieve SMART goals.
Now you know the way to go. Use the following examples to help you set your own SMART goals.
First, have a clear objective in mind and see if it fits each of the elements of the acronym SMART. If you can write goals with these attributes, your chances of success will be exponentially better.
Check out the models below:
See if you can identify the SMART characteristics in the objectives above. Evaluate thoroughly, as this will help in setting your own goals.
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