Introduced in 1981 by George T. Doran in a Management Review paper, S.M.A.R.T. goals are a way for management to structure it's goals and objectives.
The acronym is easy to remember, S.M.A.R.T. goals must be:
- What specifically are you looking to accomplish. What is the result you are looking to achieve? Example: Grow software sales Measurable
- How will you determine if you've achieved your goal in an unambiguous way. This is typically some kind of number. What I like to call a "target". It's the center of the bulls-eye.
I like to link every goal to a KPI or Key Performance Indicators. You can read about KPIs by going here
. Example: The target is $5.0M. By the way, this goal could be broken down into monthly increments. Achievable
- Each goal must be challenging, but achievable. Ask yourself the question, "do we have the resources, skills and knowledge to achieve this result"?
This can be a difficult question to answer sometimes which is why it's critical that you can the folks actually responsible for delivering the result are involved in the goal setting process. Example: We have a team of 4 salespeople, each with a quota of $1.25M. Last year they each did $1.2M. This represents a 4.2% increase over last year. We have increased marketing spend to generate more opportunities. Relevant
- Ask the question, "Does this goal align with, support, or advance the organization's vision, mission, values, principles, and strategies"?
This is where we test whether the goal is part of an overall strategy of the organization. Often people are working on things that don't align with what the organization is trying to accomplish. Example: As part of our strategic planning process we've decided we want to grow the business 5% by offering our products and services to a new market segment. Timely
(or Time Bound) - Does the goal have a "due date". When can we expect the result to be delivered? Example: By December 31st, 2017