Following the numerous studies which have resulted into known facts; when people are working towards clear and SMART goals, they work happier and achieve more when they know what is expected of them. Goals are a part of every aspect of life; how you establish your relationships, what you want to achieve at work, how to put your spare time to good use. This all boils down to priorities and what you would like to accomplish.

According to science, achieving a goal you’ve set produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for the feelings of pleasure whilst activating the neural circuitry that make you eager to pursue new challenges. Without a guided vision or plan, people to tend to drift. Goals provide a measuring stick for individuals and companies. Implementing S.M.A.R.T goals will enhance productivity, bolster self-esteem and increase individuals’ commitment towards achieving whatever they are set to conquer.

What are SMART objectives?

Setting SMART objectives provides a clear structure and track-ability into your goals and objectives. Forget about the vague objective statements, SMART goals create quantifiable results towards an objective, provide clear milestones and an estimation of the the goal’s attainability. The SMART approach gives confidence to all stakeholders as they create transparency throughout the company as they clarify how the goal came into play and how they aim to improve the situation.

In corporate life, SMART goal setting is one of the most effective and yet least used tools for achieving goals. Once you’ve charted the outlines of your project, it’s time to set specific intermediary goals. With the SMART checklist, you can evaluate your objectives.

So what does SMART actually mean?

“S” stands for Specific

A specific goal has a much greater chance of being achieved than a vague and general objective. To help set a specific goal you need to get a clear picture by asking these 6 “W” questions;

  1. Who – Who will be responsible?
  2. What – What do I want to achieve?
  3. Where – Where is the performance required?
  4. When – When does it need to be completed by?
  5. Which – Identify requirements and constraints
  6. Why – Specific reasons, purposes or benefits of accomplishing the goal.


  • Vague goal – “Achieve sales target.”
  • Specific Goal – “Sell 4 sales subscriptions to new customers by the end of every month.”
  • “M” stands for Measurable

    It is important to establish sound criteria for measuring progress towards each goal set by the company.

    Measuring your progress will help you stay on track, reach your deadlines and experience the sense of achievement that spurs you on to continue working hard towards each of your SMART goals.

    To help you ensure that the goal is measurable it is key that you ask yourself;

  • What is the quantity or quality required?
  • How will you know when it is accomplished?
  • If you are not able to easily answer these questions or find it hard to track the successes then your goal is unrealistic.

    “A” stands for Attainable/Achievable

    Now that you have put together your SMART goals we now need to find a way you can put them into place and work towards them effectively. Your goals should be stretching your abilities but still remaining achievable. When a goal is achievable, you can identify previously overlook opportunities or factors that could bring you closer to success.

    An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as;

  • How can I accomplish this goal?
  • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
  • Example: You might need to ask yourself whether achieving the new KPI you are introducing is realistic, based on your existing performance and market analysis. For example, do all the stakeholders have the right training to perform inline with the KPI? Do you have the necessary resources available to you? Can you afford to have failures if this is a new project?

    “R” stands for Relevant

    Now that you know your goal is specific enough that you can quantify where attainable, it is now key to ensure the relevance of the goal. SMART goals must represent an objective towards which you and other stakeholders are both willing and able to work towards. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it’s important to have control over them. So it’s key that you ensure that your plans drive everyone forward but are still in control of your own performance.

    A relevant should answer positively to the following questions:

  • Does the goal seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Is the goal inline with our efforts and needs?
  • Am I the right person to reach this goal?
  • Example: You have confirmed that the stakeholders responsible for the new KPI’s require training or experience. But is it the right time to progress with training or towards additional qualifications? Are you sure that you or the stakeholders are the right people to work towards the new KPI? Have you considered their goals?

    “T” stands for Time-bound

    We have now got to the final stage of setting up SMART goals which is ensuring that you and any stakeholders are focused on working towards a realistic deadline. This helps everyone prioritise their long-term goals over their everyday tasks.

    A time-bound goal will answer the following questions;

  • When do I need to complete this by?
  • What can I do 6 months from now?
  • What can I 6 weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?
  • Example: Now we have identified that you or the stakeholders have the adequate experience to work towards the KPI. What is the expected deadline to achieve the expected results? It’s important to give realistic time frames for accomplishing smaller goals that are necessary in achieving a final objective.

    Many people spend their lives drifting from one job to another, or rushing around trying to get more done while actually accomplishing very little. Setting SMART goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life.

    Are you a manager looking to understand how this approach can help benefit you in your employee retention strategy? Or are you one of those hard working employees that would like to adopt this methodology to increase you performance? Are you struggling to set achievable goals?

    Contact us if you would like to find out how you can effectively implement SMART goals in your personal and/or professional life.

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