S.M.A.R.T. Goal / Characteristics of Goal-Setting

For real and effective goal-setting, organizations use S.M.A.R.T. goals. It is important for managers to know the framework of S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. is a convenient acronym for five main characteristics of elegant and intelligent goals, which are discussed below:

1. Specific: There are greater chances of achievement of a specific goal, as compared to a general goal. Goals must be defined and definite.

Goal-setting has no place for ambiguity and confusion. Specific goals outline exactly the results expected from the personnel when they will be achieved and the desired level of achievement.

Besides, on account of being specific, these goals enable easy and quick measurement against the set targets.

For example, a general goal may be to employ and retain a talented workforce, but a specific goal would involve continuous training and development of employees.

2. Measurable: For a goal to be valuable, it must be measurable. Measurement refers to something that can be assessed in terms of definite quantity.

For example, the intelligence level of an individual can be measured through an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test. However, emotions like love, patriotism, etc., are difficult to measure in the absence of any concrete results.

3. Attainable: The organization should set attainable goals. Ideal goals are the ones that need little stretching for achievement, but they do no push the organization to its limits.

In other words, the goals set are neither easy to achieve nor impossible to try. Goals that are set on very high standards or on very low standards tend to become of no use, as they generally get ignored.

4. Realistic: In order to be realistic, a goal must have an objective for which the person has the motivation and capability to work.

It is possible for a goal to be realistic as well as high, but ultimately it is the manager who decides how high a goal should be.

However, the manager should ensure that all goals symbolize extensive progress. It is always easier to achieve a high goal as compared to a low goal because a low goal uses comparatively less motivation.

Some of the toughest jobs ever completed, looked easy just because they required intensive efforts from the workforce.

5. Time-Bound: A goal should be based on a definite time period. Successful goals are one which has starting and ending points; i.e., they operate for a definite interval of time.

Commitment to deadlines enables the employees to aim their efforts towards the completion of targets before the last date.

Goals without a definite time-period are more likely to be side-lined by the everyday crises that inherently form part of their lives.

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