As a versatile project manager and HR content writer, Michelle develops successful organizational development programs and shares insights with the world at large to facilitate healthy workplace cultures of diversity, inclusivity, and advancement. She has written about manager development, remote work, project & time management, employee well-being, and other relevant topics to help people excel in the modern workplace.
Pub: September 8 2020
Upd: January 23 2023
Goal setting in general provides new behaviors and guides focus by setting your sights on a specific outcome. They hold you accountable for your actions and help to propel you forward by aligning to the bigger picture. Some common goals relate to advancing or developing your career, increasing your network, or completing projects more efficiently.
When setting goals, there’s a SMART way to do it to ensure that you’re putting yourself on the path to success. By using the SMART framework, you simplify your objectives and gain more clarity about what you want to achieve. This method is proven to be highly effective and can be used for both organizational and personal goals. SMART goals stand for:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Relevant
T - Time-Bound
Each goal that you set should include these elements to ensure that your goal can be reached. Let’s see how these can be put into action:
1. Specific. Goals need to be clearly defined and specific so that you can focus your efforts and attention on a particular outcome. Setting broader goals can be tricky because it's more difficult to pinpoint their main purpose. Working on smaller, more specific tasks increases motivation and direction.
2. Measurable. Every goal needs to have a measure of progress. When creating a SMART goal, incorporate a measurement that indicates when you have met your goal. This could be the number of leads reached out to, or people you’ve sent networking emails to. A tangible marker of progression helps you stay on track and course-correct when necessary.
3. Achievable. SMART goal methodology suggests that you make your goals realistic and reachable - that is, something that is a bit of a stretch but not outside the realm of reality. You should understand the full scope of your goal before starting to work on it, to ensure that what you have in mind can be accomplished.
4. Relevant. When defining your goals, think about how they relate to your long term goals. Is your goal something out of left field, or is it aligned with what you want to achieve within the next year or two? Define how this goal is relevant to you and your success.
5. Time-Bound. Give yourself a deadline for achieving your goal. By setting this boundary, you create a sense of urgency that drives action and a sense of accountability to complete the goal within a specific amount of time, instead of letting it drift off into the undefined future.
Here’s a SMART goal template that you can use next time you’re creating a goal:
Putting SMART Goals Into Practice:
We've provided you with some employee goal examples of how to use the SMART methodology to turn regular work goals into specific actions that with be more successful!
Regular Work Goal: Boost new leads by revamping our old content to make it more relevant.
|Specific:||Boost lead acquisitions by adding relevant CTAs and content offers to existing content with our team assistant.|
|Measurable:||We want to increase acquisitions by 10 percent and will edit 50 pieces of content.|
|Achievable:||We have increased bandwidth to edit content now that our team has expanded.|
|Relevant:||Our new CTAs and content offers will help align all of our content with our new brand.|
|Time-Bound:||Time to complete this goal is two months.|
SMART Goal: Boost total new lead acquisition by 10 percent over a two-month period by adding relevant CTAs and content offers to 50 pieces of existing content.
2. Regular Work Goal: Apply for the project manager role by the end of the year.
|Specific:||Apply for a project manager role after studying for the certification exam to increase my theoretical skill set.|
|Measurable:||Success will be measured by passing the PMP exam.|
|Achievable:||After working as a project coordinator for 2 years, I have a good understanding of project management and have already been taking courses on project management.|
|Relevant:||This will help me achieve a promotion to manage more complex projects and gain more experience.|
|Time-Bound:||This goal will be completed by the end of Q2.|
SMART Goal: By the end of Q2, pass the PMP certification exam to increase my project management skills and apply for a PM role by the end of the year.
3. Regular Work Goal: Increase referrals through newsletters.
|Specific:||We want to increase our referral base to generate increased income to hit our quarterly projection by adjusting our content strategy.|
|Measurable:||Our goal is one new referral for the month.|
|Achievable:||In the past, we saw that more frequent newsletters generated more interest. The discount should incentivize people to share our company with their networks.|
|Relevant:||This goal will improve our overall financial performance for the year.|
|Time-Bound:||This goal has a timeframe of one month.|
SMART Goal: Get one new referral this month by sending out a weekly newsletter (four newsletters total) to all clients and offer a discount off their next purchase as an incentive.
4. Regular Work Goal: Decrease unnecessary department spending.
|Specific:||We want to end the quarter under budget by conducting monthly audits to ensure that our department’s financials are in the green.|
|Measurable:||Our goal is to be 10% under budget.|
|Achievable:||After reviewing the previous quarter’s financial statements, we’ve identified 2 areas where we can reduce spending.|
|Relevant:||We will allocate this saved money to employee development programs.|
|Time-Bound:||This goal will be completed by the end of the quarter and will be supported by monthly audits.|
SMART Goal: End the quarter 10% under budget while conducting monthly audits of expense reimbursements and supply costs.
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