What are SMART Objectives?
And how do you set them?
And how do you set them?
SMART objectives (or goals) are those which use a well-known acronym to help us succeed in achieving them.
There’s quite a wide range of variations in the way SMART is defined, and here we outline one of the most popular. However, it’s not to be confused with our own take on SMART goals. In our article: Smart Goals – being both SMART and SHARP, we argue the importance of emphasising action in any goal setting activity
This is one of our Manage in a Minute pages. These contain essential tips on fundamental management topics. No fuss or side-tracks, they get straight to the point. Here, in a series of bullet points which can be read in a minute (ish!), is our discussion of SMART objectives.
Too often we don’t spend enough time clarifying what we’re really aiming to do before we move to action. It’s all too easy to set objectives that are so general that we don’t know exactly what we’re trying to achieve, or whether we’ve achieved it.
A structured approach forces us to think more deeply and methodically about what we actually want. Perhaps the best known of these approaches is the SMART acronym. This is a practical, straightforward tool, which can be used for both professional and personal planning.
Help ensure that your objectives are more than just wishes by making sure they are SMART. That’s to say any objectives you set should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bounded. What exactly do we mean by this? Try looking at any objective you have set, or are thinking about setting. Ask yourself: “is this objective…”
Here are some words which might help you define your objectives with a focus on action: reduce, improve, increase, eliminate, produce, install, write, develop, complete. For example:
Remember that objectives are a call to action. They should result in a plan which details what you are going to do, and how you are going to specifically achieve your objective.
If you want to improve your chances of achieving your objectives, think about our take on SMART goals. Read our article: Smart Goals: Being Both SMART and SHARP to help you put the action in any goal setting activity
Or look at other detailed discussions in some of our related articles on the Goal Setting Knowledge Hub.
You can also find our more about the benefits of goal setting in our e-guide: SMART Goals, SHARP Goals to help you do just this. The guide contains 30 pages and 5 tools to help you to set SMART goals, then take SHARP action to achieve them.
Tool 1: Conventional goal setting
Tool 2: Setting SMART goals that motivate
Tool 3: The kind of goals that will make you happier
Tool 4: Taking SHARP action
Tool 5: Team goals flowchart
Tool 6: Eight personal goal setting questions