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A SMART Goals Template For Managers
Get SMART with a template that guides you through the goal creation process, including a bonus example.
Why choose the SMART framework to create goals? First off, any type of organization can use SMART as an objective-setting criteria—it’s universal and very accessible. SMART also lives up to the hype as an effective, integrated tactic because it allows businesses to make strategic decisions based on facts and figures, rather than guesswork. It can lead to higher engagement in the workplace, driving commitment and ownership, and help create alignment between employee-level and strategic-level efforts. Your mission, vision, and values can all be tied into the SMART goals template.
SMART Goals Template For Managers
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:
- Who will own this goal? What other teams or departments will be involved?
- What exactly do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important to the organization?
- In a perfect world, what’s the end goal?
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:
- Can this goal be reported on regularly?
- How can I display progress as a metric—such as with a chart?
- Do I have a current KPI that I track that can be assigned to my SMART goal?
- Who will be responsible for tracking the measures?
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:
- Can I achieve the target based on what we’ve done in the past?
- Do we have any new resources, funding, or technology that would impact the goal?
- Can I take the appropriate measures to implement our KPIs to see progress?
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:
- Is this the right time to focus on this goal?
- Does this align with our strategy as an organization?
- Has anything changed since we set our strategy (economic, political, competition, etc.) that would make us rethink our strategic and SMART goals?
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:
- When should we start?
- What is an accurate timeline of when we can reach this goal?
- What deadlines should be set for the achievement of our KPIs?
Is it taking too much time to evaluate your goals and measures? Learn how to automate and simplify the evaluation process with this toolkit.
SMART Goal Example
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.
5 Tips For Implementing SMART Goals
As a final takeaway, here are a few important tips to remember when implementing the SMART goals you just carefully crafted.
- When combined with well-defined KPIs, SMART goal setting can make it easier to sell organizational change to your team.
- Make sure it’s clear to everyone how each SMART goal aligns with your organization’s objectives.
- Get everyone on the same page with the SMART goal schedule and timeframe for completion.
- Be clear about what success of the SMART goal looks like.
- Get feedback on the SMART goal and its implementation from internal stakeholders. Reflect on this feedback and make the necessary changes going forward to ensure the goal-setting process is a continual evolution.
ClearPoint is SMART
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.
To learn more about how we can help you get SMART, take a free tour.