What are SMART goals?

SMART goals and action plans are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely:

  • Specific goals are straightforward and unambiguous. They emphasize what you want to happen.
  • Measurable goals are explicitly defined so you know when you’ve met them. Terms like “as much as possible” or “soon” are not as measurable as “reduce by 5 percent” or “by the EOY.”
  • Achievable goals and action plans are reasonable and attainable. Because they are specific and measurable, there should be no ambiguity as to whether the goals and actions are practical. If they are not, they are not the right goals.
  • Realistic action plans are those the organization is both willing and able to work to implement.
  • Timely goals set a timeframe and schedule to ensure that work can get done within a specified and realistic timeframe.

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