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What is SMART goal setting: the method, meaning, examples & 5 principles

Photo Daan van Beek
Author: Daan van Beek
SMART Goals Specialist & KPI manager
Table of Contents

Setting SMART goals doesn’t take much effort. Yet we often forget. Here you’re going to learn how to formulate SMART and we’ll explain what the acronym SMART stands for. “Specific” means to be as detailed and specific as possible, “measurable” is to make the goal measurable with KPIs and data analysis, “acceptable” means to make the goal acceptable to all involved, “realistic” stands for making sure the goal is truly achievable, and “time-bound” represents setting a concrete deadline. Why SMART goals? Because vague goals are of no use to anyone. They lead nowhere. They create confusion. We are happy to help you formulate your goals SMART and continuously improve them.

What makes formulating SMART goals so difficult?

A study shows that over 75% of companies still formulate objectives in far too complicated terms. No one really understands any of it. You can change that, of course, you can start formulating SMART objectives. Then it will be easier for your organization to reach its goals.

Smart goalsFigure 1: The SMART meaning and abbreviation are shown here: Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Get inspired here with 100+ SMART goals examples.

To explain the SMART method, we’ll take the topic of innovation as a SMART example. For each letter in this abbreviation, we’ll provide explanations so you can answer the question “What is SMART?”. The five letters in the word actually provide the explanation themselves for why formulating SMART goals is not easy:

1. Specific: use details to make your goal specific

Provide a concrete and unambiguous description of what you want to achieve, and make your goal as specific as possible. To do this, often use a verb and a noun. For example: increase your organization’s innovation rate, that is, bring new products and services to the market more often.

Another SMART example. An urban hospital wants to make the move to a top clinical hospital and specialize in skin diseases. The strategy is to attract four top surgeons with a good track record to do this.

But what does that entail? What is the profile of that top surgeon? So, these are the details that matter.

Making something specific requires details, which are not always there. So, you will have to put time and energy into that.

After much discussion, a specific profile emerges: the surgeon must have successfully performed at least 10 complex operations per year. In addition, at least twice a year their publication must be accepted in one of the top medical journals. This is how you make it clear and SMART in wording.

2. Measurable: real KPIs compel you with SMART formulation

Make it measurable: how much do you want to achieve and how do you make that result visible with clear KPI reports and examples? For example: once every six months add an innovative service to your product offering. But establishing and honing KPIs is not easy. Because not every KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is an unadulterated performance indicator.

Before you know it, you have way too many indicators. Or you are, without realizing it, managing based on KPIs with unwanted side effects or perverse incentives.

The SMART KPI toolkit 2024 covers all five letters. This widely used management tool helps you step by step with making your goals SMART through 6 logical steps and three simple methods: strategy-driven, process-driven, and data-driven.

To the SMART KPI Toolkit

3. Acceptable: have healthy discussions with colleagues

In order to achieve SMART goals it is important to make sure that there is support within your organization; your goals must be acceptable. Your colleagues must be able to accept the goal and feel that the goal is worth pursuing. Only then will they commit to it. For example: employees today realize that in their industry, continuous improvement is the standard. And that that standard makes it easier to innovate.

In an intelligent, SMART organization, people work together to achieve goals.

Therefore, a goal never stands alone. It takes discussion and support to achieve the goal. People should implement it together. But then the goal has to be acceptable to them. In practice, this is not always the case. For example, the goal can be too ambitious or set from a wrong assumption, making people uncomfortable with this goal.

4. Realistic: leverage all knowledge and sharpen goals

The goal must be challenging but realistic. An unattainable goal does not motivate people. Issues to consider include whether there is sufficient knowledge, capacity, and resources to achieve the goal. In our innovation example, we expand the design department by one employee.

In the hospital example, the recruiter at the city hospital throws a spanner in the works. She indicates, from her knowledge of the market and experience, that it will be very difficult to attract this kind of top surgeon unless there is a very attractive benefits package in return. But that is often unaffordable in practice.

Leverage the knowledge present in your organization to sharpen SMART goals.

Yet another example. Asking for planes to always depart and arrive on time is not realistic. Weather conditions, such as fog or extreme winds, quickly ruins this goal. But disruption of public order (drones), concrete threats, or the failure of IT systems are also things that management must take into account these days. Moreover, striving for 100 percent accuracy will also be too costly. Again, expertise is needed.

5. Time-bound: determine the time of accomplishment

You need to specify when the goal must be achieved, so make sure your goal is time-bound. With long-term goals, such as strategic goals, this is more difficult than with short-term goals. The time frame for our innovation example is the next fiscal year.

In order to properly estimate when you can start achieving your goal, you again need knowledge of the situation. And you also need a bit of luck.

This explanation might already help but if you still need extra hands in order to implement SMART goals in your organization, contact us or order our SMART toolkit.

What are the 5 biggest KPI pitfalls?

SMART Goals form

If you look at it this way, the SMART principle is pretty simple. But how do you go about putting this into practice? And what is involved? In our KPI toolkit we explain this in detail for you. You get a lot of tools and practical tips for the implementation of SMART goals, setting up KPIs, standardizing, and making SMART agreements.

Smart goal formFigure 2: SMART formulation with a handy form. Click on the image to download this form for free.

Work in small steps towards your SMART goal

If your goals are SMART you have already taken a big step in the right direction. But do you know how you are going to achieve your SMART goal? For that you need a clear strategy. You also need to map out the road to the goal. So, that everyone understands what to do in which situation and can also explain it to others.

So, even SMART goals need a strategy. Because on the way to the goal you are bound to encounter obstacles. It’s better to think about this in advance than to face surprises. In line with the agile organization.

The SMART principle is a kind of spell checker

You should really only think of the SMART method as a kind of spell checker that merely identifies spelling and stylistic errors in a text, but does not say much about the content of the text. If we follow this analogy, then the SMART principle says nothing about whether a particular goal is a good idea. In other words, an objective may well be SMART, but at the same time be an unsound idea.

Even worse, the SMART formula encourages low goal setting. No one is willing to set goals that seem unachievable or unrealistic. The less motivated will focus mainly on the capital letters A and R in the acronym as justification for choosing the path of least resistance. This while it is known that tough, demanding and strenuous tasks and goals ultimately lead to the greatest commitment and highest performance.

Create a SMART dashboard here

With a SMART dashboard, you’re going to visualize your goals and KPIs so you no longer have to wander around ignorantly in the dark. You’ll always have an overview of how things are going and you can make quick adjustments from now on. Find out what a well-designed dashboard will bring to your organization and team. Don’t let all those great improvement opportunities slip away. Discover the power of integral KPI dashboards by Passionned Group.

Excel at something: a SMART example

When setting SMART goals, it’s best to focus on things that really matter. Something you really want to achieve and excel at. The following example is about a Fire Department translating its mission using the SMART method.

  • Excel: A smart manager first identifies what the organization wants to excel in. The goals then start to make sense and take on the SMART meaning. This gives your people purpose and passion for the business. They understand not only the SMART abbreviation but also the deeper meaning of the goal.
  • Move: establish what movement you can make toward the ultimate goal. In doing so, you also reveal what your personal ambition is and what the ambitions of the organization are.

Smart goals exampleFigure 3: SMART goals example at the Fire Department. Translate the mission into SMART goals.

  • Measuring: then you make the progress measurable towards that goal with KPIs. You monitor the progress together on a continuous basis as laid down in Dr. Deming’s improvement cycle Plan-Do-Check-Act.
  • Norming: in this step, you determine exactly which target values (norms) must be set for the KPIs. You adjust these norms where necessary. For example, absenteeism may not exceed 4%.
  • Achieve: which actions do you take together to achieve the SMART goal?

When formulating straightforward SMART goals you should always connect to the higher goal of a project or organization. Like with the Fire Department example. Then you’ll never go wrong.

Talk to a SMART specialist

Five basic principles of SMART goal setting

In 2002, two well-known American scientists, Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham, published a high-profile article on goal setting in American Psychologist. In the famous article, the two professors summarized their findings based on 35 years of scientific research. They came up with five basic principles:

  1. Setting specific, hard-to-achieve goals leads to consistently higher performance than merely asking your people to do their best anyway.
  2. High goals lead to more effort on the part of employees than low goals. The highest goals and the very hard-to-achieve goals entice people to exert maximum effort and ultimately lead to top performance.
  3. Tight deadlines lead to a higher work rate than flexible loose deadlines.
  4. Publicly announcing your commitment to certain goals increases personal effort to achieve goal realization.
  5. It doesn’t make much difference to goal achievement whether the goals were originally established by mutual agreement between employee and supervisor, or by an order from above given by the boss.

View 100+ SMART goal examples by industry

SMART goals are made measurable by developing the right insights and key performance indicators (KPIs). The SMART KPI Toolkit 2024 helps you formulate your KPIs and provides many examples of setting up SMART goals.

By way of illustration, we give below per sector a number of SMART goals examples (the KPIs) with which you can manage and monitor to what extent goal fulfillment is in sight. The examples are only indicative and certainly not exhaustive. The examples focus mainly on the M (measurable) from the SMART abbreviation.

SMART goals in the energy sector

Energie-Nederland (a Dutch energy company) sees a new market dynamic emerging in the energy sector. New market players are entering. Citizens, in addition to being consumers, are increasingly becoming producers (prosumers), savers, investors and traders. New collectives and (online) platforms are emerging outside the existing structures. ‘The customer’ no longer exists: people buy comfort and information instead of energy. Business models are changing. It is becoming possible to anticipate market developments based on up-to-date, transparent information. The sector is accelerating towards low-carbon, reliable energy production. In the energy sector, we can set the following SMART goals:

  • Prevent energy outages (viewed from the customer’s perspective)
  • Supply in accordance with agreements
  • Deliveries in accordance with purchase
  • Units of renewable energy generated or delivered
  • Number of damage claims
  • Number of unmet claims
  • Percentage of uncollectible claims
  • Illegal tapping

SMART example from mental health care

The mental health and addiction care sectors include institutions such as day treatment centers and psychiatrists’ practices. The mental health sector is undergoing a strong transition. From specialized to generalistic basic mental health care (general practitioner with practice support, GP mental health care) and from clinical beds to intensive ambulatory forms of care, possibly in combination with online modules (blended care). Existing business models must be adapted to achieve more cost-efficient and effective mental health care. In the mental health sector, we often see the following SMART goals recurring:

  • Reduce waiting list in days (+ average)
  • Planned versus realized productivity
  • Increased productivity
  • Percentage of no show
  • Percentage of billable hours rejected

View more than 350 SMART goals

SMART goals in healthcare

Pressure on hospitals will increase, as demand for care will rise faster than the supply of available resources. Hospitals will have to specialize to keep quality intact while reducing costs. Digitalization will have a disruptive effect on the design of supply and will offer opportunities in terms of improved quality and cost reduction. In the healthcare sector, you are dealing with the following SMART goals:

  • Waiting list in days (+ average)
  • Vacant beds
  • Planned versus realized productivity
  • Productivity
  • Percentage of no show
  • Percentage of billable hours rejected

SMART industries

Although most Dutch industrial companies are of modest size, they occupy strong positions, according to ABN AMRO. They are particularly strong in niche markets. New services such as remote maintenance and “predictive maintenance” and data science offer machine builders an excellent opportunity to further unburden their global customer base and increase their added value for customers. Rabobank sees the emergence of “smart industry” concepts and the increasing focus on more sustainable production processes such as cleantech as key trends. In the industry sector, you can name the following SMART goals:

  • Productivity
  • Machine utilization rate
  • Dropout of products
  • Waste created in the process
  • Conversion rate: contact to cash

SMART goals examples in insurance

The future of insurers will be defined by agile, digital organizations, according to PwC. InsurTech, disruptive innovation in the insurance sector, driven by technological developments and digital technology are going to play a decisive role. To remain competitive in a saturated market, cost reduction remains a strategic focus. In the insurance sector, you will find these SMART goals:

  • Number of campaigns that successfully influence driving or lifestyle behavior
  • Number of claims versus unmet claims
  • Percentage of uncollectible claims
  • Number of disputes with customers regarding claims
  • Quality of policy conditions
  • Claims processing time: from application to payment
  • Number of frauds: in advance, real-time or afterwards

SMART goals in the cleaning industry

Cleaning services are part of the facilities management industry. Big data analytics, workplace sensors, internet of things, robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence are going to play an increasing role in the facilities field, according to FMN. Organizations that fail to respond to these technological changes risk missing the boat. In the cleaning sector, the following SMART goals are important:

  • Cleanliness of objects and surfaces
  • Cleaning at undesirable times
  • Number of cleanings that were scheduled but not performed
  • Number of damages per customer
  • Detected thefts
  • Number of times cleaning starts late or runs late
  • Redundant cleaning

View more than 350 SMART goals

SMART method in logistics & freight transport

Road freight transport is part of the transportation sector. Sustainability and innovation are key themes for this industry, according to Rabobank. The transport sector’s CO2 emissions must be sharply reduced, while transport demand is increasing. In addition, local governments want to reduce freight transport in city centers. According to industry association TLN, ICT is becoming increasingly important. Exchanging data offers opportunities and this is increasingly recognized. In the transport and logistics sector, make your objective SMART with:

  • Load factor
  • Dropout during transport
  • Number of freights left late
  • Departure and arrival on schedule
  • Fleet not operational

SMART cities

An increasing part of our lives and work is done through digital channels, and so are the services provided by governments. Municipalities are also experimenting with virtual reality and artificial intelligence, VNG notes. Digitalization has many positive effects on the functioning of society, and can make a major contribution to productivity, employment, and social welfare. Resources can be deployed more efficiently, transactions are faster, and products and services are better aligned with what people want and need. In the local government and municipal sector, we can distinguish the following SMART goals:

  • Economic activity: inflow and growth of businesses
  • School dropout: number of dropouts/total number of students
  • Employment: number of vacancies versus total number of citizens
  • Labor force participation: employed versus total number of citizens able to work
  • Accessibility: throughput in number of minutes of delay per movement
  • Sports participation: number of members of sports clubs/total number of citizens
  • Road safety: number of accidents (bicycle or car)
  • Fire safety: number of fires (absolute or in percentage of number of inhabitants)
  • Crime: number of reports by and against citizens
  • Health: doctor and hospital visits
  • Quality of life: percentage of green space in the city
  • Social cohesion and civic participation: number of civic initiatives

SMART projects and consultants

Increasing prosperity and urbanization are driving demand for engineering services, including in the areas of smart housing and clean drinking water. Digitalization and new technologies offer opportunities for engineers, according to Rabobank. For example, virtual reality simulations, 3D laser scanning with drones and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are helping engineers do better validations. Urbanization and climate change are increasing the demand for sustainable solutions. In this sector, we can identify the following SMART goals:

  • Planned versus realized productivity
  • Leakage
  • Conversion rate: contact to cash
  • Percentage of inspections rescheduled
  • Realization of client trajectory in accordance with the issued schedule & budget
  • Billed hours versus billable hours

view more than 350 SMART goals

SMART goals in leasing

Leasing companies have evolved into providers of all forms of business mobility. The entire automotive sector faces the challenge of adapting to ever-changing conditions. Car companies must invest in knowledge and skills to service fully electric cars, according to Rabobank. Gas stations, too, must respond to the changing needs of motorists. The bank sees opportunities in companies that focus on digitization, big data and connectivity. Companies need to prepare the workforce, and business model for the transition to zero-emission cars and exploit opportunities in growth markets such as private leasing. In the automative & leasing sector, we can identify the following SMART targets:

  • Difference between agreed and actual car delivery time
  • Number of cars leaving the lease prematurely
  • Number of cars out of the lease that have not been sold or not been redeployed
  • Number of damages per customer
  • Number of customers in arrears
  • Adherence to prescribed maintenance cycle car manufacturer
  • Maintenance fraud

SMART IT in the field of consultancy & management

Digital transformation in almost all Dutch industries is creating increasing demand and supply of ICT services. Competition is increasing as the number of providers is rising faster than demand, according to Rabobank. Challenges for the industry are mainly in the areas of attracting qualified personnel, reducing energy consumption, and complying with laws and regulations on cybersecurity and privacy. In this industry, you often see the following SMART goals reflected:

  • Planned versus realized productivity
  • Leakage
  • Conversion rate: contact to cash
  • Realization of consulting process in accordance with issued schedule & budget
  • Billed hours versus billable hours
  • Unavailability of service offered
  • Percentage of Service Level Agreement (SLA) indicators met
  • Uptime of systems for primary process
  • Number of successful versus failed ICT projects
  • Number of serious bugs or interruptions in systems

Want more information about formulating your goals SMART and creating interactive KPI dashboards? Then contact us now.

Assess your people with SMART goals

An important part of professional, incorruptible, and driven management is the way in which the entire assessment and reward system of employees in an organization is set up and designed. In a successful, intelligent organization, people are central to executing and managing business strategy.

Assess your people with SMART goals

When it comes to the question of what a good starting point is for conducting meaningful assessment, progress, and performance conversations with employees, HRM experts usually agree pretty quickly: without clear, SMART goals, it’s not going to work. But then how do you determine those goals via the SMART principle? That’s the key question.

In practice, formulating goals is usually already quite a tour de force. Let alone that the goals also have to be SMART. Discussion partners quickly get bogged down in discussions about definitions, procedures, priorities, salary scales, and bonuses. Therefore more and more people are now saying that the entire appraisal system should be abolished. Even scientists are floating along on this sentiment.

Frustrations reign supreme

Appraisal interviews produce nothing but frustration according to managers and employees alike, according to a seven-year study by Human Resources Management lecturer Kilian Wawoe of VU University Amsterdam. Managers’ annual evaluations of employees are demotivating and have no positive effect on performance. The researcher therefore advocates abolishing this system and replacing it with ongoing coaching. This coaching does not focus on the past, but on how an employee can become better at his or her job, and achieve their SMART goals faster.

Don’t turn performance appraisal into a judgment call

Over the past seven years, Wawoe conducted research among hundreds of employees and managers. This also shows that they find appraisals to be a waste of time and money. Employees feel that reviews are not created fairly. It turns out that only a small part of the appraisal score employees receive can be traced back to performance.

In addition, according to the VU researcher, other factors play a role that have nothing to do with performance management or the SMART method. For example, men are rated better than women. Not because they are better, but because they are more opinionated. This is why the appraisal interview is popularly called the “judgmental interview.”

Ongoing coaching good alternative

So Wawoe looked at companies that are doing things differently. What he noticed in these organizations is that teams performing at top levels all work with ongoing coaching and forms of Lean management. Team members are told throughout the year how they are performing and how they can do even better. This not only increases employee performance but also satisfaction. And it substantially lowers the risk of stress and burnout.

The SMART KPI Toolkit 2024 Image of The SMART KPI Toolkit 2024Having SMART goals is step one, but how do you determine if you're making progress towards achieving those goals? You need SMART KPIs. Passionned Group's SMART KPI Toolbox will help you define the essential KPIs for your organization. This essential handbook contains many KPI examples from a myriad of industries, as well as in-depth explanations and exercises.The SMART KPI Toolkit

Outdated objectives

Companies and organizations cling to the current system of appraisal because it is transparent and provides certainty. Objectives are often set in January and in December the manager assesses whether the employee has met his objectives. The problem, however, is that the goals often do not take into account the complexity of the work. Moreover, they may be outdated by February. In short: no SMART goal. What remains, according to Wawoe, is a conversation about outdated goals rather than what someone has done all year. The result: disappointed employees who have no confidence in an honest assessment by their manager, no matter how well the goals are formulated according to the SMART method. Let’s get back to basics.

Tight deadlines

On paper, the process of strategic goal setting seems simple: set specific, hard-to-achieve goals with tight deadlines. Don’t worry too much about how the goals were arrived at: by negotiation, or by the handing over of a list of goals to be achieved and due dates by the boss. At the same time, publicly announce which goals have been formulated, ideally, of course, using the SMART method. Diligent people with great perseverance “automatically” ensure the desired, predictably high business performance.

Act consistently

But practice is recalcitrant. Indeed, American management consultant Dick Grote notes in an article in the Harvard Business Review that most companies and managers ignore Locke and Latham’s five basic principles or do not apply them consistently and consistently. As a result, expected peak performance fails to materialize. Grote notes that three modern management practices run counter to Locke and Latham’s five basic principles: SMART goals, cascading goals, and assigning relative weighting factors to goals.

Unsuccessful goals, but formulated SMART

By now, entire generations of employees in businesses and institutions have grown up with the SMART principle. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, and Time-bound; that is how it has been hammered into everyone’s heads. There are some variations here and there on the same theme, Instead of Acceptable, Ambitious (does the goal actually bring about real change?), Actionable (does something really need to be done for it?) or Demonstratable (which person is going to pursue which goal?) are also often used. However, the essence always remains the same. The SMART method provides a good foothold for many people facing goals for the first time. However, as mentioned, strict adherence to the SMART formula encourages low goal setting and, unfortunately, does not prevent the creation of unsuccessful plans that will never lead to goal realization, entirely according to the rules.

Avoid a cascade of goals

Marking unsuccessful goals SMARTManagers are often advised to land goals from the top of the organization to the shop floor. Within this “cascading” approach, the president or CEO sets their goals first. This is followed by the vice president who, in turn, aligns their goals with those of their boss so that together they can meet organizational goals. Next, the country directors, business unit managers, and supervisors start formulating their SMART goals. Finally, it’s the people on the shop floor’s turn to set their goals. They, of course, neatly align them with their supervisor’s goals. No one will take it into their heads to somehow challenge the goals of their “superiors.”

Everyone is waiting on each other

A disadvantage of this rigid “cascading of goals” in practice is often that people sit around waiting for each other. As long as the manager has not yet defined his goals, the subordinate cannot continue to formulate his goals SMART. In theory, this process can drag on endlessly, with people sitting around pointing at each other. One colleague accuses another of needlessly delaying the process. Another risk is that important goals belonging to someone’s unique job function are left out of the process, simply because there is no direct relationship to the supervisor’s goals.

Hand-holding and haggling

Obviously, some goals are more important than others but assigning percentage weighting factors to goals to indicate their importance is usually counterproductive, according to Grote, and here’s why: It is impossible to assign an exact percentage. Take a specific goal, for example, “granularity,” or degree of detail information. The consideration of whether this goal should factor in 20 percent or 25 percent is almost impossible. And as a result, which objective gets 5 percent more or less weight? It quickly leads to endless haggling.

Beware of false accuracy

Using percentages to indicate the importance of goals presents evaluators with an even bigger problem. If they rate people on a five-point scale and apply percentage weighting factors to the individual goals and work with arithmetic averages, they end up with a score that may be as high as two decimal places. Thus, you create false accuracy and false certainty.

The SMART formula: avoid a mathematical approach

Maybe this aforementioned mathematical approach is perfectly sound, but it’s really just nonsense. Performance assessment is not a mathematical exercise. An objective assessment depends primarily on the personal judgment of a professional manager. Unfortunately, there is no technique that simplifies the system of formulating goals SMART and leads to straightforward assessments. But as Latham and Locke show in their research: investing in goal setting does pay off. The payoff can be substantial. But then you have to be careful about cascading goals like a balanced scorecard. You will have to avoid the weighting factors. Finally, do not fixate too much on the SMART formula.

Three tips for formulating SMART goals

Grote concludes his article with three handy, practical tips for anyone getting started with SMART goal setting:

Three tips for formulating SMART goals

  1. Do not use the acronym SMART to determine which goals are wise and worth pursuing. Use the methodology only to check that you are formulating your goals correctly.
  2. Let go of the rigid idea that all individual goals must have a direct and tight relationship to the supervisor’s goals. Individual goals do not necessarily have to relate to the areas that the supervisor or management team has identified as important. Of course, it is important and logical to align with the goals formulated by the immediate supervisor. However, in modern-managed companies, there is also plenty of room for the fulfillment of individual goals. Consider the goals of your immediate supervisor as an important fact. However, these goals should not completely overshadow or exclude the individual goals of the employee.
  3. Do not assign percentage weighting factors to the goals. Instead, use more global descriptions such as high, medium and low-priority goals. Or rank goals based on importance (e.g. using a dashboard) to indicate that some individual goals are more important than others.

Talk to a SMART consultant

Break the rigid assessment ritual

Two partners from McKinsey & Company, Elizabeth Hioe and Sabrin Chowdhury, also shed light on the recurring problem of conducting appraisal and performance reviews. Anyone who has ever done a survey in their company will conclude that almost no one is 100 percent comfortable with this annual ritual, the partners note.

Don’t be too rigid in SMART formulation

Even high-functioning employees become demotivated if you confront them with rigid or arbitrary goals, even if you formulate them SMART. The two McKinsey partners address this sensitive issue in a compact article. They say the trick is to turn a tedious ritual into a positive experience centered on personal growth and learning. For too long, goal setting has been a time-consuming, mathematical and ineffective process. It is time for a turnaround.

Adjust your SMART goals in real time

When setting goals for employees, you will need to keep in mind three key concerns:

  1. Involve your people from start to finish. When it comes to improving performance, it only makes sense to involve people themselves directly in the entire process. This breeds commitment and employees will develop a sense of “ownership” when it comes to goal achievement. Meeting certain goals encourages the continuous improvement process.
  2. Connect individual goals to organizational goals. 91 percent of the companies that implemented an effective performance appraisal system say employee goals are related to company priorities. The explanation for this is simple: people like being able to see how their contributions fit into the bigger picture.
  3. Adjust goals in real time. Goals should not be formulated statically; they should be dynamic. They should be able to evolve. A well-known pitfall is to set goals at the beginning of the year and then move on to the order of the day. Only at the new round of assessments are the goals pulled out again. Meanwhile, the original goals are overtaken by reality. Of course, goals don’t have to be “moving targets,” but you should adjust your goals regularly as the environment demands. Goals should also be adjusted as soon as the assumptions underlying them change unexpectedly.

Become smarter with Passionned Group

The Passionned Group specialists are happy to help you take a step further in implementing SMART goals, on your way to an intelligent, data-driven organization.

Contact us here for an introductory conversation about the SMART goal you have in mind.

About Passionned Group

Logo Passionned Group, the specialist in SMART goalsPassionned Group is a specialist in SMART goals, continuous improvement and smart organizations. Our experienced consultants help companies tilt towards a SMART organization. Every other year we organize the election of the Smartest Organization of the Netherlands.

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Our SMART goals experts

Photo Daan van Beek - SMART Goals Specialist & KPI managerDAAN VAN BEEK MScSMART Goals Specialist & KPI manager
Photo Leo Kerklaan - Senior Consultant SMART Goalsmr. LEO KERKLAANSenior Consultant SMART Goals
Photo Wouter Huisman - Expert SMART Goalsdrs. WOUTER HUISMANExpert SMART Goals

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