What is a SMART Target?

SMART goal setting is the most effective yet least used tool for goal attainment. SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a specific objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Therefore, every goal or objective can be made SMART.

Once you’ve charted project outlines, it’s time to set specific goals. With the SMART checklist, you can evaluate your objectives, bring structure and trackability into your goals whilst creating transparency throughout the company.

What does SMART stand for?

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Specific targets are clear and well-defined offering considerable description as to what you actually want to achieve and why it’s important. For example; offer time, deadlines, percentages and figures.

Measurable targets are trackable and will identify what you will hear, see and feel upon task completion. Defining physical manifestations of your objective enables milestones to be set allowing targets to be more manageable and permits an evaluation on where errors have occurred and how to steer tasks back on track.

Attainable targets should be realistic objectives that are relevant to you. Attainable targets need to weigh the benefits and costs of attaining the goal against for example the profit of the business and other priorities. This also means assessing whether you have the capability and resources required before committing to a goal.

When setting a relevant target, you need to ask, “Why do you want to achieve your goal?” and how to achieve it. If you don’t have the resources or capability, then you shouldn’t commit to the target. Thus, defining the overall goal and how to get there often assists in realising how attainable a target actually is before committing to it, highlighting where there are lacking resources and establishing whether this can be overcome.

Time-Bound refers to the necessity of setting relevant and strict deadlines which are realistic. This will push you to work towards completing the goal within the deadline, and if you do not complete it within the time frame, you can evaluate where things went wrong. It’s also a good idea to set periodic reviews throughout the course of the project to ensure everything is heading in the right direction.

How can SMART Targets benefit you?

  • SMART goals are relevant to every aspect of your business and can be applied to both the business and its employees
  • You can set structured, clear, precise and definitive goals with attainable deadlines
  • An effective means to evaluate and review projects and objectives
  • Gives the workforce milestones to work towards and spread the workload into mini targets
  • They remain flexible to allow you to adapt, evaluate and refine your goals when necessary
  • SMART goals can mean the difference between success and failure
  • SMART goals can assist with objective management and attainment