SMART Goals: Your complete guide to getting where you want

SMART Goals is a methodology that will allow you to set goals in a more strategic way.

 SMART Goals is a methodology that will allow you to set goals in a more strategic way. It is based on five principles, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time based.

Both in personal and professional life, goals are the element that helps us moving forward. Once you set where you want to get, you can start making actual plans of how you are going to do it. In this sense, SMART Goals is one of the most well-known methodologies to help you determine your finishing line for a certain project or period of time.

Although goals are normally our friend, it is incredibly easy how they can become a reason for frustration and anxiety. If well designed goals are a motivator, poorly conceived ones can create the exact opposite: paralysis.

This is why you must set your goals wisely. And we have just the right tool to help you with that!

We prepared this article with a complete guide for you to understand what are SMART goals and how to use them in your professional (or even personal) life. Here are the topics we are going to cover:

  • Why can goals be a productivity booster? 
  • What are SMART Goals after all? 
  • I have my goals, what now?

We bet you are curious to know all about this topic, so let's dive in! 

Why can goals be a productivity booster? 

You have probably heard the famous quote "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there", from "Alice in Wonderland" (1865). Although the book was written for children and teens, it contains valuable life lessons, such as this one. 

And what it really means is that people who don't know what they want to achieve get lost in the way. Now, let us apply this lesson to the business world. 

Picture a sales team with instructions to "increase sales until the rest of the year". Every member of this team will have their own idea of how to achieve this: some will focus on getting a bigger market share; others will want to increase the average ticket; while there is a group that may try and mine the competitors, so that the company grows in comparison. 

It doesn't take much to understand what is happening here: a complete lack of focus and pulverised efforts. Most likely, the well-meaning and devoted team will spend a lot of energy and resources and won't be able to reach considerable progress. 

Why is it, though? The reason is quite simple: they didn't have a clear goal. Although they had a general intention, they didn't have specific guidelines that would allow them to make real progress. 

In a nutshell, then, we can say that goals are a sort of beacon that points you to the right direction. When you have a well designed goal, you will drive all your efforts to the same direction, optimising them. As a result, you will be able to get to where you want in a more effective way - isn't this what "productivity" is all about? 

In this sense, SMART Goals can be your biggest ally, just like a helmsman in a rowing team, setting the rhythm to the athletes. 

What are SMART Goals after all? 

SMART Goals is a quite simple methodology to help you create goals that are efficient. The "smart" is actually an acronym that works as a checklist. This way you can make sure your goal has all the elements to make it a tool to help your motivation and productivity - rather than a setback.

In the following topics, we are going to see what each letter in the acronym means.

S for Specific

You remember the example we gave before, right? So, the first problem with that was the lack of specificity. An efficient goal is, first and foremost, a specific one.

Just sayin you want to "increase sales" simply isn't good enough. Let's say in the example before the team managed to somehow make sales up by 1%. Could you blame them for not reaching the goal? Absolutely not!

Try and answer the following questions to be more sharp:

  • What do I want to achieve with this goal?
  • Who is/are the person/s responsible for it?
  • Where will it be implemented?
  • How are we going to accomplish it?
  • Why should we pursue this?

By answering these questions you should have a good start at making a more specific goal.

M for Measurable

Measuring is key when it comes to creating good goals to boost your productivity. You can't improve what can't be measured, said Kotler. So, whenever you think of a goal, you should automatically think of its KPIs.

And if you can't think of indicators to measure this goal, it probably means there is still space for improvement in hour goal design. Here are a couple of questions that might help you create a measurable goal:

  • Which result do I expect to achieve?
  • How much time do I need?

A for Attainable

Balance is a secret hidden in plain sight when designing goals is at stake. If you set an objective that is too modest, you (or your team) may feel it is not challenging enough, and so you won't push yourself to improve in order to expand your limits.

On the other hand, if you aim to the stars, it may be too far away, and unrealistic. This may also be demotivating, since you know your goal isn't feasible.  

When working with a team, always involve them in this part and ask if they think the goal is actually attainable. This will make them feel part of the decision making and encourage a stronger commitment.

R for Relevant

The best goals are those that everyone understands why they are pursuing it. If the reason behind the goal is something too cabalistic, odds are your team is not going to engage with it. The more relevant the goals, the more motivated your team will be. This is due to the fact that they will feel as part of something meaningful and they will want to be a part of it.

So, besides designing well your goals, make sure everyone understands where they are heading and what is going to happen once they get there.

T for Time based

The last letter of the SMART acronym is just as important as the previous ones. How far are you aiming your shoot? Do you plan to have your plan accomplished in one week? One month? A year? The time span can be the difference between an achievable goal or an unrealistic one, so choose wisely.

I have my goals, what now? 

Now that you have your perfectly designed SMART Goal, it's time for the best part: going for it! An objective is as good as the work done to reach it, so your next step should be creating a roadmap to determine how you are going to reach your goal. 

In this sense, having clear and well implemented business processes is the golden standard. With a good process management program, you can set your SMART Goals, keep track of your KPI, measure your progress and 

Scriptor Server is the best tool in the market to help you with that. Created by Viatecla and perfected for the past 20 years, it is a highly customizable low code BPM system that will allow you to design and operationalise your processes in your day to day work life. 

Besides all the functionalities that have been listed, it will also help you preserve knowledge within your team and create an open communication channel for your team members. Everyone can have access to the visualization of the process and to the status of each process and this is a great way to show the team how close they are to reaching the goal. 

Tell us your needs, let us help you set the most audacious - yet attainable - goals to take your company to another level!

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Pedro Seabra
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