What are the best kinds of goals to make? SMARTER goals. SMARTER goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. That means your goals should be achievable and clear, with a defined timeline for completion.
Creating SMARTER goals is a great way to increase the chances to achieve what you want to achieve. By taking the time to make specific, achievable goals, you can up your motivation and stay on track to reach your objectives.
So what are some tips for creating SMARTER goals? What experts suggest are best practices in goal setting? Read this article to explore.
What are SMARTER Principles in Goal Setting?
George Doran introduced the SMART goal-setting framework in an article for Management Review in 1981. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
Owner of TalentSorter, Tim Brennan introduced SMARTER goals to me as an extension of the SMART goal-setting framework. The last part of the acronym stands for End Results.
The SMARTER goal-setting framework builds on the SMART framework by adding the evaluation element. It helps ensure that goals are constantly reviewed and revised as needed.
Doran’s original intent was to provide specific criteria to assess whether goals and objectives were well-defined. However, the framework has since been adopted as a tool for how to set goals in many different contexts.
You could also use SMARTER goals to help with personal development goals aimed at improving some aspect of your life. That could be anything from developing a new skill to improving your health. The key is setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely with an end result.
Some personal development goals examples include:
- Getting in shape.
- Quitting smoking.
- Eating healthier.
- Learning a new language.
- Reducing stress.
- Managing time better.
Your goals in life can be large or small, but the important thing is they’re something you are passionate about and willing to work for. So take some time to think about what you want to achieve, and then start making it happen!
Meeting weekly or even monthly goals are often not achieved without support, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or even a professional coach.
Some people find that setting personal development goals helps them lead happier and more fulfilling lives. If you’re unsure where to start, consider what you want to achieve in a year, five years, or even 10 years. Once you have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish, you can begin working on making it happen.
S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal Setting
If you’re a residential home services business owner, you know how important it is to set long-term goals. But what’s the best way to set revenue goals (or any goals for that matter)? How can you make sure that your goals are SMART?
The answer is to use the SMARTER goal-setting framework. Let’s take a closer look at the criteria:
A specific goal is clearly defined and easy to understand. When setting a specific goal, you should answer these following questions: What goal do I want to achieve? Who is involved in this achieved goal?
Why do I want to achieve it? Where will this goal be achieved? Which action plan is required to achieve this goal?
Let’s say you want to increase sales by 50 percent in the next fiscal year. If you currently generate $1 million in revenue, your specific goal would be: ACME Inc. will increase revenue from January 1 to December 31 by 50%, taking the company from $1 million to $1.5 million in revenue.
A measurable goal is quantifiable. In other words, you should be able to track your progress towards achieving the goal. To make a goal measurable, ask yourself: How much? How many? By when?
Going back to the example above… How do the salespeople in your company know if they are achieving the goal of increasing sales by 50 percent? By looking at the numbers, of course. Furthermore, they can look at the month-over-month increase and see if the increase is ahead of schedule or behind schedule to be achieved by the end of the year.
For example, if you are 50% of the way through the year (end of June) and your revenue is only up by 42%, then you can determine if you need to adjust your expectation, or increase your efforts on a variety of fronts.
Track the revenue increase or decrease achieved each month, and you can make adjustments to your efforts or expectations along the way. Just remember, not all goals are linear. That means, you might sell less in the shoulder seasons and more in the peak seans, and your measurements should reflect that in your monthly goals.
An achievable goal is attainable if the proper actions and resources are applied to it. When setting an achievable goal, ask yourself: Can I realistically achieve this under the current circumstances? Do I have the resources (time, money, staff, leads, etc.) required to achieve this goal?
Continuing the example above, if your company’s goal is to increase sales by 50 percent in 12 months, that would be achievable if you have enough staff to run enough calls to generate the desired revenue. If your leads are insufficient, then so are your chances of hitting your goals.
Meeting goals like these are often not achieved because the proper resources are unavailable to hit the desired numbers. Setting achievable goals is an exercise in reverse engineering your actual CAP KPIs (conversions, average sale, and profit) against the actual resources you have to work with.
Goals are often placed on the wrong people for the wrong reasons. For example, a salesperson has zero control over their KPIs and 100% control over their actions and behaviors. Therefore, when setting SMARTER goals for your team, zero in on the things they can actually affect.
This keeps the goal relevant to the person your asking to meet or exceed the objectives.
Going back to the goal above, if your company’s overarching goal is to increase revenue by 50% based on a 50% closing ratio and 100 leads a month, then a relevant goal for your employees is to speak with 200 people in a month. Their goal is speaking to 200 people. Your business is required to supply them with 200 valid leads and the solutions to maintain a 50% closing ratio. Your employee only has control over their actions and behaviors. They have no control over your closing ratio or lead generation.
A timely goal has a certain deadline attached to it. It helps keep you focused and on track. To make a goal timely, ask yourself: When must I achieve this goal? What are some milestones I can use to measure my progress? Am I going out too far, relieving the pressure to get in front of this thing? Have I given myself sufficient time to be able to naturally reach a successful end?
Too long a time and you lose your sense of urgency. Too short a time and you cannot fit the necessary steps into getting the job done. You need to make the goal achievable in the time you have given yourself, or adjust the resources to make it happen in the time allotted.
Based on the goal above, having an annual goal is relevant. To increase the sense of urgency, make a seasonally adjusted monthly goal to measure in smaller, more bite-sized increments.
What draws the line between a SMART goal and a SMARTER goal is the end result. When you start with the end in mind, you are far better positioned to reverse engineer the resources, actions, and behaviors necessary to attain your goal.
When you say you need leads, that is meaningless. When you determine that you need 200 leads per month at a 50% average closing ratio on a $1,500 average sale to achieve $1.5 million in revenue by December 31 — now that’s a SMARTER goal.
Goals are like any well-laid plan. They’re great until you get punched in the mouth. When you take into account learning curves for new employees, uncontrollable variables like supply chain issues that will affect your conversion rate and average sale, you can adjust your lead counts, staffing levels, and other capacity issues accordingly.
To evaluate if you’re actually going to achieve your end results, ask yourself: What are the potential obstacles that could get in my way? Do I have the resources to achieve this goal? How would I adjust these resources to stay on track with my goals? How do I deal with the main uncontrollable factors affecting my business?
A revised goal is one that you have gone back and edited based on what you have learned from evaluating where things could possibly go wrong. Often what this means is planning out a stretch goal for positive consequences and a breakeven goal for planning out negative consequences.
Some potential consequences that could get in my way of achieving the example goal above include:
- Not having enough money to pay for growth.
- Not getting the lead volume necessary to reach your desired end results.
- Not being able to find qualified candidates.
- Not getting the closing ratio or average sale you based the revenue growth on.
To increase your chances of success, revise your goals to take in these contingencies.
Achieving your goals is ideal, but it’s not easy. If it is, your goals were likely too low to begin with. Setting goals that are SMARTER makes all the difference in attaining them or not. By taking the time to think through your goals, and revise them as needed, you’ll be in a better position to reach your objectives.
SMARTER Goals: The Pros and Cons
There are many benefits to setting SMARTER goals. They can help you:
- Clarify your objectives.
- Stay on track.
- Measure your progress.
- Adjust your course as needed.
On the other hand, some people find that SMARTER goals are too rigid and constraining. If you’re the type of person who prefers a more flexible approach, you may find that traditional goal setting is a better fit for you.
The downside to SMARTER goals include:
- They can be inflexible.
- If you miss them consistently, you may get discouraged.
- You may need to set multiple goals to cover all your objectives.
- Some people find them too time-consuming to develop and track.
Despite the potential drawbacks, setting SMARTER goals can be a helpful way to increase your chances of success. If you’re struggling to reach your goals, or are unsure how to get started, consider using the SMARTER goal-setting approach.
SMARTER Key Take-Aways
No matter your approach, setting goals is a vital part of achieving success. By taking the time to think through your objectives and revise them as necessary, you’ll be in a better position to reach your targets.
When you’re setting goals, keep the following in mind:
- Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely, and with an end result in mind.
- Set goals that challenge you but are still achievable.
- Write down your goals, and review them regularly.
- Factor in positive and negative contingencies along the way.
- Be willing to adjust your goals as necessary.
A few examples of SMARTER goals to help you get started are:
- I will walk for 30 minutes every day for the next month to shrink my waist by 2 inches. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely, End Result)
- I will run a 5k race within the next six months to prove to myself that I am able, healthy, and strong. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely, End Result)
- Or… I will reach out to Wizard of Sales® for help achieving my SMARTER goals within the next 24 hours to become a millionaire. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely, End Result)
If you want to be successful, you definitely need to set some SMART goals.
But why stop at SMART? You’re SMARTER than that. If you’re looking for an even more effective way to goal setting, create SMARTER goals.