SMART Goals are the Right Goals

- February 13, 2012

Strategic Tuesday/Price

Hello, I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape.  And today is Strategic Tuesday.  We’ve going to continue our series on developing strategic plans and action plans.  And last time we talked about the importance of vision and mission statements.  Today we are going to talk about goals and our title for today’s episode is: “SMART Goals are the Right Goals.”

Now just what is a goal?  A goal is a very specific and measurable achievement that drives the organization toward its mission.  A goal is very important because it provides a sense of common direction and inspiration for people in your organization and yourself to move the company forward.  And of course that’s what you want to do.  If everyone can see the goal and feel that it’s obtainable then they’ll work together and strive toward accomplishing it.

Now we are going to talk about “SMART criteria” in developing your goals.  SMART criteria was originally developed by Peter Drucker, a management guru.  SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  Now what do each one mean?

It starts with Specific: that’s the who, what, why, how, etc., when you are setting your goals.  Be very specific because if you are vague it’s not going to get you very far.  You want to be very specific in what you are trying to accomplish.  The more specific the easier it is for everyone to see where you’re going.

It also has to be measurable, such as how much and how many?  If it’s not very measurable then how do you really know when you’ve accomplished anything?

Next is has to be achievable.  Do you have the resources in place to actually make your goals happen?  So setting a goal if it’s not achievable makes no sense and will be looked at skeptically in your organization. 

It also has to be relevant.  You can set all sorts of goals but if it really doesn’t mean anything, or it’s not related to what you want to accomplish, then that’s not a good, relevant or realistic goal. 

Lastly, it has to be time-bound, which means you need to have a time set for when these things are going to happen.  That gives you accountability.  That gives you a sense of urgency.  If it’s open ended then who ever just jumps on a project when there’s nothing really at stake?  So that’s why SMART criteria is so important when you are developing your goals.

Now let’s use SMART criteria for my efforts to train and run the Chicago Marathon.  I’ve actually run it but we are going to pretend I haven’t and set the goals using the SMART criteria related to running finishing the Chicago Marathon. 

First, the training goals need to be specific.  Now I could say that I want to get in shape.  But I could also say I want to run a marathon and I could even further say that I want to run the Chicago Marathon and finish it.  I’m beginning to be a little bit more specific in what I’m trying to accomplish. 

Next it needs to be measurable.  How many workouts am I going to do in a week and how far am I going to run?  That would be my measurable goals. 

Next would be whether it’s achievable.  Now that’s often the question asked of people running their first marathon.  This happened to be my fifth marathon so I had the sense that I could finish it but when you are setting your goals you need to know if you can get there or not.  And the goal for me was not to win but to finish it. 

Next is has to be something that is relevant.  Suppose I set training goals that I want to sit on the couch every day, not worout, then run the marathon.  Now that is something very specific, sitting on the couch, watching TV and perhaps eating a bag of potato chips, but it’s not really relevant to my goal of finishing the marathon.  Getting out and running every day seems to be more relevant with respect to the proper training. 

Next is time-bound.  Again, I need to set out when to do these workouts because the marathon is coming on a very specific day.  I have to be ready to do the marathon by that date.  I start training really late that’s not going to help me much.  If I don’t start training until after the marathon, that’s not going to help me at all.  So using SMART criteria I can figure out how to train and run my marathon properly. 

Now I think you can see why you need to be “smart” when you are developing your goals.  I recommend that you get out there on the Internet and check SMART criteria out a little bit more.  Pull up the list, look at it and use it as a tool for defining your own goals.  Because if you do have goals, you and your fellow workers going to be able to move toward something that you all seek together.  And of course that’s what you are trying to accomplish.

That’s our Strategic Tuesday.  Try and stop by tomorrow for Action Wednesday.  I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape.  And we’ll see you next time.

James Glover: (505) 501-1330 or