Specific & Measurable. Vague goals are less effective than specific, measurable goals because they do not provide focus. You need to set a goal in a way that you can be absolutely sure if it has been accomplished or not. You know that a goal is fully specific and measurable when there can be no objective argument over whether it has been achieved. You don’t want to rely on opinions of various people about whether or not the goal has been met. This is another important finding from the goal research:*
The more specific the goals, the more explicitly performance is regulated.
It is simple common sense, backed up by research. If you set a vague goal, e.g., “Do your best,” then people will interpret effort in a variety of ways. If the goal is specific, e.g., “Raise $20,000 from the phonothons by Friday,” then people will expend more intense and persistent effort to meet the goal.*
Relevant. What goals can you set which will catapult you toward the future you want to create for your organization and/or for yourself? Make setting the most relevant goals a priority. Don’t waste time on trivial goals.
Time-Bound. Every goal should have a date attached to it by when it should be accomplished. Simply make sure that you add the phrase “by Month, Date, Year” to every goal you set.
We’ll fill out the complete SMART goal formula with a blog about the “A” next time. But for now, make your goals SMRT and they’ll be ready to be completely SMART soon!
*Locke, E. A. & Latham, G. P. A Theory of Goal Setting & Task Performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990.