SMART Goal Setting Examples

By Todd Ballowe

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In order to reach your strategic objectives, you need to set goals – short term, more immediate milestones that stretch your company to reach its full potential. In business, strategic goal setting is an essential but often times misused element.

But what makes a great goal? Whether you’re using OnStrategy’s strategic planning software or sitting down with a pencil and paper to plan your day, you need to make your goals smart. Smart goal setting ensures that everyone in your organization knows what they’re supposed to be doing and when.

So what’s the difference between a smart goal and an unsmart goal?

Un-Smart Goal: We want to make more sprockets.

Smart Goal: The sprocket department will raise sprocket production by 20% by the end of this year.

The first goal leaves a lot of unanswered questions. No one knows who is in charge. There’s no way to tell when the goal has really been achieved. For effective goals to function as yardsticks for tracking a company’s performance and progress, they must state how much of what kind of performance and by when it is to be accomplished. They must be relevant, aggressive yet achievable, and be stated in measurable or quantifiable terms.

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Think S.M.A.R.T. when you create your goal setting worksheet:

Specific:

Goals need to be specific. Try to answer the questions of How much and What kind with each goal you write.

The sprocket department will raise sprocket production by 20% by the end of this year.

Measurable:

Goals must be stated in quantifiable terms, or otherwise they’re only good intentions. Measurable goals facilitate management planning, implementation, and control.

The sprocket department will raise sprocket production by 20% by the end of this year.

Attainable:

Goals must provide a stretch that inspires people to aim higher. Goals must be achievable, or they’re a set-up for failure. Set goals you know you, your company, and employees can realistically reach.

The sprocket department will raise sprocket production by 20% by the end of this year.

Responsible person:

Goals must be assigned to a person or a department. But just because a person is assigned to a goal doesn’t mean that she’s solely responsible for its achievement. See our article on Performance Management for ideas on how to hold your team accountable for goal achievement.

The sprocket department will raise sprocket production by 20% by the end of this year.

Time specific:

With reference to time, your goals must include a timeline of when your goals should be accomplished.

The sprocket department will raise sprocket production by 20% by the end of this year.

Summing Up

In business, goal setting that is S.M.A.R.T. can make a huge difference in maintaining growth and momentum. Whether you run a modest department or a massive corporation, make sure that you always make an effort to add these properties to the goals you set! For more of a deep dive, check out our How To Guide on How To Build Your Plan.

Check out our S.M.A.R.T. Goal Writing Tools

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Todd Ballowe

Originally from Illinois, Todd has made his home in Reno, NV since 1997. Currently, he is the Web Developer/HTML Developer for OnStrategy. Todd attended the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing.
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