Get SMART with a template that guides you through the goal creation process.
As a quick reminder, SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. The SMART goals template below can be used as a general guide to help you get started on the right foot.
Specific means narrowing your efforts to focus on exactly what you need to get done. The “s” can also represent strategic because your goal should link back to the organization’s overall strategy.
When adding specificity to your goal, ask yourself:
Your goals should be quantitative—using hard numbers makes it clear whether you’re progressing as planned. The measurement part of your goals is also good for morale. When employees know exactly what they are working toward, it instills a sense of purpose and accountability.
This is where your key performance indicators (KPIs) fit in. KPIs are the measures you track to see if you’re achieving your goals… and they ultimately drive performance.
It’s common for each SMART goal to have more than one KPI associated with it. The SMART goal owner you named in the “specific” step can then delegate KPIs to other team members. KPIs are tracked and reported, creating the measurement aspect you need to determine progress on your goals.
Read our related article on the relationship between SMART and KPI tracking to learn more.
When adding measurement to your goal, ask yourself:
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Seek to challenge yourself, but make sure your goals are feasible considering your organization’s capabilities and resources. You can strike this balance between ambitious and attainable by looking at your historical data to determine if your goal is in the realm of possibility. Also, use this step as a gut check to determine if the KPIs you incorporated into your goal are reachable as well.
When ensuring your goal is attainable, ask yourself:
The realistic part of your SMART goals template is a holistic assessment of the larger organization and its external influences. At this point, you want to be thinking less about your KPIs and more about understanding the economic environment, industry opportunities, your organization’s stage of growth, etc. You may want to involve other subject matter experts, outside consultants, or even external data sources to ensure you’re taking an unbiased look at whether the goal is realistic.
When adding realism to your goal, ask yourself:
Creating a time-bound goal helps define what you’re working toward and what should be accomplished at specific points along the way. For this step, you’ll create an end date for the goal, as well as dates for each phase of the goal (including KPI deadlines) to ensure everything is progressing and on track. This keeps teams motivated, and also ensures you’re held accountable to gather data and report on a regular basis.
When creating a time-bound goal, ask yourself:
Need something tangible to work from when planning your organization’s future? Here’s a specific example of how you’d structure a SMART goal.
As a final takeaway, here are a few important tips to remember when implementing the SMART goals you just carefully crafted.
ClearPoint’s strategic management software can help you track, measure, and report on your SMART goals...and the KPIs that live within them. Our system is designed to neatly align all goals, projects, measures, and more with your overarching strategy. You’ll have all the data and information in one spot, plus quick-click reports that make it easy to see and share progress.
Tricia manages our implementation and onboarding team to ensure the success of ClearPoint customers.