Setting SMART Goals

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Is it SMART?

Good objectives are SMART—specific (detailed, well-defined), measurable (quantifiable), achievable (actionable), realistic (given available resources), and timebound. Can you spot the missing attributes?

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Last year, Shannon's company entered the highly competitive market of offering paper shredding and data storage services to businesses. Shannon proposes the following objective for her sales team: "Within one year, increase our market share in the ten largest U.S. cities to 70% of the number of contracts awarded." Which of the following attributes is this objective missing?

Not the best choice. This objective clearly defines a specific percentage goal and within which geographic territory this must be achieved.

Correct choice. Shannon's company has just entered an industry that requires significant infrastructure. Her organization will need to build or acquire storage facilities and to purchase mobile shredding units. Her company is unlikely to have the infrastructure necessary to win 70% of the U.S. market in one year.

Not the best choice. The objective establishes a one-year deadline.

Gerald's company, which sells flooring tiles in a large city, has three retail outlets. Currently, when customers cancel an order or return tiles, salespeople in the stores write down only informal notes about the transaction. Gerald wants his staff to start recording the customer satisfaction issues on a simple form, which they should submit to him every Monday morning. Gerald gives his staff the following objective: "Please complete these forms whenever a customer cancels an order or returns a product." Which of the following attributes is this objective missing?

Not the best choice. Gerald will be able to measure whether or not forms have been completed by comparing them to cash register receipts for canceled orders or returned products.

Not the best choice. Completing a form is well within the job description and abilities of sales staff.

Correct choice. Gerald's objective does not state the recipient nor a deadline for completing the forms.

Jane's supervisor asks her to set some objectives for her operations staff. She creates the following objective: "Increase productivity over the next quarter." Which of the following attributes is this objective missing?

Correct choice. The objective is not defined in a way that can be measured. Measures are usually either financial or in units of output.

Not the best choice. The objective includes a deadline.

Not the best choice. It's likely that Jane's operations staff has resources with which to increase performance.

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