S.M.A.R.T. Goals Success Tips

A Goal is defined as a measurable, desired level of performance. Every business owner needs to set both short and long-term goals and each goal must pass the S.M.A.R.T. test.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results oriented, and defined by a
  • Time-frame

A goal always has two parts: the goal itself and the desired level of performance. Examples:

  • Reduce voluntary staff turnover to 7% or less per year
  • Improve annual safety audit by achieving a score of 98/100
  • Reduce annual product defects to 30 per 10,000
  • Increase annual customer satisfaction to 90% of “5” on a 5-point scale

Objectives for accomplishing the Goals should be set at each level in the organization in a cascading fashion.  Each objective must be directly linked to the achievement of the larger, macro goal(s). Rarely is a single objective used to achieve a goal; multiple objectives are usually needed.  Borrow good ideas from other sources.  And when setting goals try to avoid making these mistakes:

  • Creating goals that are really projects, activities, or strategies
  • Goals that are based solely on past performance
  • Arbitrary stretch goals
  • Inconsistent short and longer-term goals
  • Inconsistencies in goals at different levels of the organization

As part of goal setting, be sure to also develop Measuring and Testing (M&T) strategies. Link each goal with key objectives that can be measured/tested or listed/tracked, in a scorecard format. An example might include the following:

  • Long-term goal of “90% Customer Satisfaction” is linked to your customer satisfaction ranking system.

Remember to focus on the following:

  • Develop specific objectives for each goal
  • Identify short (annual) and longer-term goals on the same measures
  • Make sure goals and plans are consistent across levels and functions
  • When possible, involve customers, key suppliers, and employees in the planning process
  • Spend no more than one month at fiscal year-end preparing your plan
  • Employ a systematic approach to select the best strategies for accomplishing your goals
  • Use benchmarking to identify effective strategies for achieving your goals
  • Communicate your plan! If employees don’t know your goals and plans, they won’t be able to help you reach them.  Use a variety of communication methods with more reliance on one-on-one communication than canned presentations.


Deborah Kohler launched her business in 2004. She is a Business Coach, Trainer, Professional Facilitator, Columnist and Public Speaker. Her company mission is “helping business owners and community leaders.

CEO/Owner Scribble Mountain www.scribblemountain.com  (970) 391-6980