6 SMARTER Goal Examples
Goals completion depends on how you set them. Various obstacles may distract you from sticking to the action plan – from time misestimations to changing external environments. Half-done tasks, in turn, lead to procrastination and fatigue and reduce the overall productivity – up to burnout.
But setting feasible objectives isn’t rocket science – everyone can do this, if they know certain planning techniques and can manage time. In this article, we’ll tell you about how to organize routine in a SMART way and give you some SMARTER goals examples as reference points.
What Are Personal Goals?
Goals fuel self-development. They are certain desired outcomes that one uses as a beacon for setting up long-term plans and making daily decisions. Goal examples may be anything – from losing pounds to reading a certain number of books till the next New Year.
On an individual level, goals reduce fear of uncertainty. People who plan their future get more control over it. They think more positively and take aligned actions that lead to overall well-being, ultimately.
In the corporate environment, a “goal” is commonly displaced by a “KPI”. However, KPIs are rather components of a particular goal because they allow tracking and assessing its completion. For example, a company may want to increase its market share during the next year. This mid-term goal can be decomposed into a set of specific KPIs for every team, and further – into a set of individual performance indicators. Individual KPIs can contribute to employees’ career development goals and serve as a rationale for assessing their knowledge, expertise, and productivity.
To be met, a goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. In plain English, it should be SMART. An objective with no details and frames, whether it is set on individual, team, or corporate level, is rather a vision or apprehension.
SMART tasks allow allocating resources, including time, skills, and money, reasonably enough to achieve a common purpose. They also give grounds to build forecasts and compare success across employees and teams.
What Are S.M.A.R.T Goals?
SMART is one of the frameworks for setting goals. It exists alongside other approaches and theories, like the goal-setting theory of motivation, management by objectives, or objectives and key results.
It first appeared in 1981 when George T. Doran issued the paper “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. Hence, it has been 40 years since the concept was mentioned for the first time.
Doran’s original acronym stood for “specific”, “measurable”, “assignable”, “realistic”, and “time-related”. The interpretation has slightly changed and is now regarded as:
- S – specific
Objectives should cover particular issues or respond to seeable opportunities, and there is no place for subjective evaluations.
- M – measurable
A telling goal is one that can be figured. It’s up to you what metrics to choose: integers, fractions, or percentages. But there should be defined benchmarks – to plan the general course.
- A – achievable or attainable
Thinking big is great, but nothing frustrates people more than unattainable results. Sky-high goals are good for athletes, but for teams, they may cause increasing job dissatisfaction and burnout.
- R – relevant
If you’re going to spend time and resources on achieving your goal, be sure you’re on the way to a meaningful result. Although no one can predict the execution with 100% accuracy, an action plan should be reasonable and uncluttered.
- T – time-bounced
Backlogs, time estimates, and deadlines are fundamentals for goal completion. Because even an exhaustive plan will remain a good intention if it doesn’t include a completion date.
Say, an online retailer wants to be more profitable. Below are just a few SMART goals examples that can be designated to teams:
- sales managers – to increase the number of leads by doubling the team over the next 6 months
- assortment planners – to increase profits per [a,b,c] merchandise categories by 15% over the next 4 months
- user acquisition managers – to increase website organic traffic by 10% over the next 3 months
- email marketers – to cut expenses on content production by 20% during the next month.
5 original SMART goals components were further adjusted with 2 more – “evaluated” and “reviewed”. This is a so-called SMARTER approach. It foregrounds the importance of feedback and agility. Viewed in this way, a manager who sets the goal should:
- review its priority
- track completion and timely impose adjustments
- provide relevant guidances
- encourage collaboration and communication
- praise individual performances and team results
- point out areas of further development.
To build an action plan, use the SMARTER goals template. This may be a single-page table with key areas to take control over, a Kanban board, a Backlog in JIRA, a mind map, or anything you’ll be comfortable referring to and working with.
“Use this table to set SMARTER goals”, source
More Tips on Goal Setting
A structured and systematic algorithm is half of the deal when setting up objectives. Another 50% of success is determined by background and a human factor. In particular, by the level of bureaucracy within the company, team structure, and employees motivations.
Although no one knows for sure why some companies succeed with goals completion better than others, there are 6 tips that you can try using – to increase chances to join the ranks of lucky ones.
Reduce employee turnover
Too high and too low turnover of employees is neither desirable for companies. Low turnover may indicate that there are hidden issues, like a lot of poor performers, while high turnover costs a penny. A company may spend around ⅓ of an employee’s annual earnings to pay off the exit package. Not to mention that all scheduled processes are slowed down, and some tasks are simply lost during delegation.
To reduce turnover, form diverse teams and combine monetary and non-monetary incentives to motivate people. If the organization is big, establish job transfers between departments. Be understanding yet capable to let go of employees who don’t fit the positions they obtain.
Increase website traffic
Traffic-related goals stand on 2 pillars – retrospective and competitor analysis. The first allows making realistic forecasts, while the second – understanding of desirable outcomes. To set goals regarding website traffic, use tools:
- Google Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager – to collect information
- Alexa, SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs – to analyze competitors
- Tableau, Power BI – to keep, process, and visualize information, and build traffic forecasts.
A company may use habitual lead gen techniques up to the time it reaches a growth plateau. After, if it’s aimed to increase revenues, it should impose qualitative changes to the entire selling routine. Below we’ve listed a few growth hacking techniques in this regard:
Try software to align all marketing campaigns and analytics. For example, if your lead gen channels include email, you can automate outreach and get more conversion with drip campaigns. There are many affordable email automation tools, like Snov.io, that allow scaling outreach up.
- new social media platforms
If you target people from all over the world, why not explore local social networks and collaborate with micro-influencers rather than crowd Facebook or Instagram?
- shared audiences
Competitors are not enemies. You can establish mutually beneficial partnerships with peers and promote the brand to a wider audience.
Stay more focused
Being concentrated is extremely difficult because of various distractors – from a flashing smartphone screen and Slack notifications to sudden talks with colleagues. To focus attention on ongoing goals, avoid multitasking, and prepare daily To-Do’s the evening before.
Also, try to work from a quiet area and do regular breaks. Instead of giving responses immediately, dedicate a certain part of the work time to answering inquiries. And don’t ignore time management techniques, such as prioritizing and structuring tasks.
Improve employee engagement
A “tone at the top” is destructive for successful goal completion in the long term. It is important to establish comfortable communication between employees and managers and collect feedback from both sides. Use questionnaires to understand how much people are satisfied with their jobs, working conditions, and careers development. Follow up surveys with engagement tactics:
- create mechanisms for sharing new business ideas
- organize learning
- work out transparent performance tracking
- create clear career paths and ladders.
Develop better interpersonal relationships
Goal completion is usually a team effort, so it’s important to create a toxic-free environment for everyone. A company can invest in employees’ soft skills development, e.g. organize team buildings or pay for mental health training.
Still, much depends on one’s free will. Effective team players are those who:
- can listen to, understand, and respect what others say
- welcome collaboration and is flexible
- have a positive attitude
- are committed, patient, and accountable.
Setting SMARTER goals isn’t a cumbrous task- it’s just a matter of habit. Use this approach to manage daily routines, e.g. trips or learning new things, and see how your plans are built into reality.
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