SMART Goal Setting, Make SMARTER Goals Instead

picture of dart in bullseye against blurred out dartboard

by Linda Finkle

Many companies use the SMART goal setting process as a guide to set goals that could be converted into an executable plan. SMART is a mnemonic, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, and it does help in keeping things realistic and objective.

An Introduction to SMART Goal Setting

  • Specific goals are always better than a general one. Focusing on one specific goal would help the key players and employees do their job better. Specific goals eliminate confusion, clutter, and prevents you from being sidetracked.
  • M is for measurable. Putting concrete figures in your goals will help you track progress.
  • Letter A in the smart goal setting stands for attainable. While there is nothing wrong with dreaming big, attainable or feasible goals work better in business settings because there’s just too much at stake. An organization loses valuable resources every time it doesn’t meet a certain goal, and the people working in it lose heart as well.

If the goals set are too high, most people just lose hope and give up, however if the goals are hard but still attainable, then chances are the organization can power through to reach it.

  • Relevancy ensures that business goals are grounded on the existing state of the industry, and the core values of the company. If your customers, investors, or employees don’t care about the things you’re trying to make happen, then nothing is really going to happen.
  • Goals should have a deadline otherwise; it’s just a dream with no happy ending. Setting a time frame keeps things in perspective; it also gives people the urgency to act.

Is this SMART goal setting enough? I know many organizations that swear by SMART goal setting, yet fail to accomplish the things they’ve set to do. There’s a missing link here, goal setting shouldn’t stop at time-specific.

SMARTER Goal Setting

Goals need to be EVALUATED, in regular intervals. It’s not enough that you measure progress, because what if you’re not making enough progress in the path you’re taking? What if there’s another way to do things? This is where evaluation comes in.

A business’s goals should be evaluated to measure the organization’s progress, check if the actions taken are in line with the goals, and most importantly, find out if the goal is still worth pursuing or if a change of path is in order.

Smart goal setting doesn’t end at the first evaluation though; you have to RE-EVALUATE the goals until they are accomplished. Business goals change from time to time due to many external factors, such as industry changes, demand changes and even organizational changes. There should be a constant cycle of evaluation and re-evaluation of business goals to see if the organization is indeed moving forward, and if the set goals are still applicable to its state today.