Your Guide To Setting SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals for your leaders and managers is an effective way to ensure that your organization is working towards achieving its objectives. 

What is SMART goals?


SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These five criteria can help you set practical and achievable goals for your leaders and managers, which can ultimately lead to the success of your organization.

Without a SMART goal in mind, managers and leaders might be working really hard but working and guiding their team in a completely opposite direction than what you are looking for.

SMART goals, in a layman language, can be understood as:

Specific: A specific goal is clear and well-defined. It answers the questions of who, what, where, when, and why. For example, a specific smart goal for new managers might be to increase sales in a specific region by 20% within the next six months.

Measurable: A measurable goal can be quantified, so progress can be tracked. This allows for effective monitoring and evaluation of the progress being made towards the goal. 

For example, performance goals for managers might be to increase employee engagement scores by 10% within the next quarter.

Achievable: An achievable goal is realistic and can be completed with the resources and capabilities that are currently available. It’s important to set goals that are stretching but not impossible, and should be something that you can work for and reach.

For example: Currently you are selling 50 dresses a day on average. And though, it all depends upon various factors like resources and talent available, market share, and more increasing your sales to 100 dresses for the next one year might be an achievable goal but selling 2,000 a day might not be. 

Relevant: A relevant goal is aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy, mission and vision. It should be something that is important to the organisation and its stakeholders. 

For example, a relevant goal for a manager might be to implement a new cost-saving measure that aligns with the organization’s sustainability goals.

Time-bound: A time-bound goal has a specific deadline for completion. This helps to create a sense of urgency and ensures that the goal is completed within a specific timeframe. 

For example, a time-bound goal for a leader might be to develop a new product line within the next 12 months.

When setting SMART goals for your leaders and managers, it’s important to involve them in the process to ensure that they understand and buy-in to the goals. This can help to increase their motivation and commitment to achieving their goals.

How to set SMART goals for your leaders and managers?

Overall goal setting depends upon the organisation’s vision and mission, individual members goals and capabilities, resources available and many more factors. 

With many factors to be considered, setting SMART goals for managers and leaders may seem like a daunting task to do, but you can do it simply by following these steps:

It is also important to track progress and make adjustments as needed to ensure that the goals are being met.

  1. 1. Goals should be relevant with your company’s objectives and coincide with your team members’ individual goals. So, set specific short, medium and long term goals based on their level of importance towards the company and stakeholders.
  1. 2. Involve relevant departments and team members in the goal setting process. It will not only increase input in the process but also reduce resistance and improve their morale and performance.
  1. 3. Set milestones to track the progress. Milestones help you determine whether you are on the right path or not, if there needs any adjustments in the plan.
  1. 4. Create an action plan based upon the objective that you had set. Break down the action plan into smaller chunks like weekly steps or monthly steps to reach the ultimate goal. Include growth opportunities and learning sessions needed to complete the task on hand.
  1. 5. Set a specific deadline for every step to be taken to reach the goal by regularly tracking and ensuring the progress being made.
  1. 6. Make adjustments on the way. Don’t be rigid on following the process. Based on the progress made and unknown challenges that might come, make sure to make necessary adjustments to the action plan.

Understand SMART goals with examples

Example 1: Meeting sales target

Increase company sales by 10% over the next two quarters through weekly online promotions, and a new quarterly incentive program for all employees to monitor their personal sales goals.

S: We aim to increase sales by 10%.

M: Measurable actions are weekly promotions, and quarterly incentives.

A: These actions set are achievable by the team members.

R: These incentive programs are designed to increase sales. 

T: This goal is expected to be achieved by next year.

Example 2: Improving communication skills

Clear and effective communication is essential for any team’s success but improving communication skills seems very abstract, so it’s important to keep your goals specific and realistic at the same time.

Breaking this down into SMART elements, we get:

S: Complete effective communication training and get feedback on your communication skills from each team member before and after the course completion. 

M: Track the feedback you get from my team members before and after the training, document them and track your progress to see how much you have improved your communication skills.

A: Go through the feedback to understand where you need to work on, set achievable goals. If you consistently receive good feedback, and demonstrate improved communication skills, you’ve achieved this goal.

R: Communication skill is one of the soft skills every employee regardless of their position needs to master. So, improving communication skills for managers is definitely worth working on as it increases team cohesion and productivity.

T: Set aside specific time to communicate and take feedback from your team members like every friday or every month end.

In summary, setting SMART goals is a practical and effective way to ensure that your organization is working towards achieving its objectives and helping others achieve their individual goals to improve employee performance. 

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