SMART Goals and SMART Objectives are what make us "move" forward. We all strive for something in both our professional and personal life. To fulfill our dreams we need structured and verifiable trajectories.
By having SMART Goals and establishing SMART Objectives we’ll know what we want to achieve or where we want to reach, and also how to accomplish all that.
We can't just go with the flow and orient ourselves along the way because we’ll end up "moving" through life quite randomly. Without a clear destination, milestones and an estimate of attainability our dreams may end up only dreams without any continuity or correspondence in real life. To achieve our SMART Goals, it is necessary to act.
The Objectives are the ones that help us to focus our energies in a certain way to try to find solutions, to be creative. The objectives must be linked to each other and lead you towards fulfilling your goals. It must flow from one another, to follow one another or at least one to support another. The SMART Objectives are those that realistically, concretely and measurably help us to take the necessary successive steps in the direction of our goals.
A Goal is the target that we aim for, a distinct purpose, and is achievable through objectives
By setting Goals we provide ourselves with a direction, a clear focus and a motivation to evolve and to advance in both our personal and professional life.
The Objectives are the determining steps that direct us to the full completion of our goals. The outcomes of the Objectives are directly contributing to the achievement of our goals.
S.M.A.R.T is the acronym that comes from the criteria on which we can guide in establishing our goals and the related objectives. Each letter defines one different criterion:
Specific: straightforward defined, precise and unambiguous.
Measurable: With specific points of reference that measure whether you are progressing or not
Achievable: possible to successfully be reached
Relevant: With certain importance to your purpose
Timely: a defined timeline for completion
In 1968 Edwin A. Locke (born January 5, 1938), an American psychologist developed the Goal Setting Theory. His research shows that setting specific goals leads to higher performance and that the harder is the goal the higher will be the performance.
Later, in 1981, George T. Doran (born August 4, 1939), consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, published There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives. The paper debates the importance of the difference between the terms Goals and Objective and also about the importance of setting them in a company.
Goals represent unique executive beliefs and philosophies. They are usually of a form that is continuous and long term. For example (1) Conduct all corporate activities with honesty, integrity, and fairness; and (2) take an active role in community activities and practice good corporate citizenship.
Objectives, on the other hand, give quantitative support and expression to management’s beliefs. For example: To develop and implement by December 31, 198… an inventory system that will reduce inventory costs by 1 million, with a cost not to exceed 200 work hours and $15,000 out-of-pocket initial expenditures
In this paper, George T. Doran defines what he called a guideline for SMART Goals and SMART Objectives. Not absolutely all the Goals and Objectives must be SMART, but the closer they get to meet the criteria, the more they will positively influence the organization's management.
The criteria established by George T. Doran as guidelines for setting SMART Goals and SMART Objectives are
Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
Assignable – specify who will do it.
Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved
Other variants that have been used to define the 5 criteria are:
S: Strategic, Specific
A: Agreed, Attainable, Achievable
R: Resourced, Reasonable, Results-based
T: Trackable, Time-based, Time/cost limited, Testable
Clearly define what you are going to accomplish.
Identify criteria for measuring progress:
How plausible is the fulfillment of this goal
Does it have a positive influence on the overall vision?
Create a sense of urgency to increase motivation
Define what you expect and who will do it
Choose how to evaluate progress. These can be
Make sure you have the necessary resources
The objectives must converge towards the fulfillment of the goals
Create a sense of urgency to increase motivation
In business as in any other field, the SMART Goals represent the destination and the SMART Objective are the
specific steps towards achieving it.
The better the goals are set, the clearer the objectives will become, and the results will be more satisfying. Business objectives are generally related to development, problem-solving, innovation, day-to-day work, profitability.
A way of defining SMART goals is to identify the problems existing in the company in the areas described above. The solutions to these problems can be established as SMART Goals. For instance, any innovative approaches that could make your business more effective in the future can be defined as a SMART Goal for Innovation.
Goal: Increasing the number of potential customers
SMART Goal example: Increasing the number of potential customers by 3% via email marketing in the next 6 months
Goal: Reduce business costs
SMART Goal example: Reduce business costs by 3%, by reducing rental costs and utilities during the following 6 months
Goal: Increase my revenues
SMART Goal example: Increase my revenue by 3%, by acquiring 10 new clients within 2 months by asking for referrals.
Goal: Improve product quality
SMART Goal example: Improve product quality by 3%, by implementing the new procedure by the end of the year
Throughout our entire lives, we seek to develop ourselves from a personal point of view. For this, we get involved in activities that improve our quality of life and contribute to the realization of our dreams and aspirations, in other words, to achieve our personal goals.
The life goals we are trying to achieve through these activities can be included in different categories like career goals, academic, physical, creative, monetary, ethical. All these refer to what we want to achieve in that field, such as what career we want to take or what skill we want to develop in a certain sport or how much money we want to earn.
Among the activities we undertake, so that our personal development will lead us to the achievement of our objectives, are the improvement of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and social relations, enhancing lifestyle, developing strengths or talents and time-management skills.
Setting personal goals helps us focus on what we want to achieve, to be or to go with our lives. That is why it is advisable to set clearly defined personal goals, to adapt them according to circumstances, and to evaluate our achievements to keep sight of our progress.
Setting SMART Goals and SMART Objectives for personal development is remarkably useful. Since your goals are the destination that you want to reach out and the Objectives are the specific and measurable activity that you must undertake to reach your goals, you need to make sure that both of them are:
Once you have set your personal SMART Goals and SMART Objective, review them regularly to make sure they are still relevant to you and, if necessary, to adapt them to the current situation.