How to Use SMART Goals

 In Business Operations, Operations Management

In business, as in life, setting goals is a key to success. A goal might be to earn another degree, see another country, learn a new skill, increase networking opportunities or diversify your workforce. Establishing goals is the way to positive outcomes. Using the SMART goals framework helps you achieve.


Year-end goal setting is a tradition. Within a business organization, all goals are interrelated. You may wish to establish goals for sales, new product lines, product expansion and expense reduction. Whatever it is that you hope to achieve next year, now is the time to engage in the goal setting process.

What is a goal?

  • Goals detail aspirations you believe are achievable.
  • Achievements are defined outcomes.
  • A defined outcome requires actions to produce a desired result.

Begin by establishing some long-range, strategic goals. These are goals that are three or more years into the future with broad characteristics.

Then, set tactical goals with a lifespan of 12-35 months. Identify objectives for each goal, the measurable steps that you can take.

Finally, add in operational tools you’ll use to achieve success.

Here’s a simple example to show the concept. Let’s think that we are in the pencil sales business and want to establish 2018 goals.

How to Use SMART Goals

Once you have developed the types of goals cited above, remembering that you only need three or four stated goals, the next step is to identify the characteristics of each goal. Those characteristics are characterized as S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Each identified goal should have the following elements. Is the goal Specific? Can we Measure what the goal is trying to attain or achieve? Is the goal Achievable? We need to identify a goal which we can readily achieve. Is our defined goal Relevant to today? Finally, is the goal Timely?

Final Comments

This is not hard, complex or complicated, but, it takes discipline. Getting started is the first big step in goal setting. So, go on, dream big, and make those goals SMART! Need some help? Our consultants can guide you through the process and help you see the big picture. Contact us today.


Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

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