S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal

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(This article is part of the Professional Development collection)


S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal is a goal-setting technique that is designed to help one create strong, success-oriented goals. It is a great tool for Rotaract leaders to implement in leading their clubs. It is also a variation of the popular S.M.A.R.T. Goal.

The Components of a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal

*“S” is for Specific. Being specific holds you accountable to the goals you are establishing. Specific goals include action that will be taken by you.

*“M” is for Measurable. The measure may be quantitative of qualitative, but must be measured against a standard of performance and a standard of expectation.

*“A” is for Attainable. Setting goals is a balance between reaching a success that is too easy or too hard. As you think of attaining your goal, you will want to consider availability of resources. (i.e. time, money, people, etc.)

*“R” is for Relevant. A goal must be relevant to you and the club. Does the goal advance the vision and mission of Rotaract and does it help the club maintain its standing on the campus and in the community. Relevant goals help the members keep focused on what’s important.

*“T” is for Time-specific. A timeline or date should be part of your goal. Being time-specific helps you to measure your success along the path of reaching your goal. It also can assist you in developing a doable action plan, including setting objectives and strategies, for reaching your goal.

*“E” is for Evaluate. Your goals are not set in stone and will change from time to time. Constant evaluation of your goals is essential to reaching your goals. Change factors must be taken into consideration during your evaluation. Factors such as a change in your major, a change in job responsibilities, or a change in available resources may affect your stated goals.

*“R” is for Revise. After evaluation, you should re-do the goals that need changing and continue the SMARTER goal-setting process.

Developing S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals

Paul J. Meyer describes the characteristics of S.M.A.R.T. goals in his book Attitude is Everything (2003). This S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal is a variation of the S.M.A.R.T. goals. In this section we have outlined how to create S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals.

Specific

The first term stresses the need for a specific goal over and against a more general one. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific, they must tell a team exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important.

A specific goal will usually answer the five "W" questions:

  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who: Who is involved?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

Measurable

The second term stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether a team is making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help a team stay on track, reach its target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.

A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable

The third term stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and attainable. While an attainable goal may stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.

An attainable goal will usually answer the question:

  • How: How can the goal be accomplished?

Relevant

The fourth term stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A Bank Manager's goal to "Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2:00pm." may be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time-Specific, but lacks Relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization will receive that needed support.

Relevant goals (when met) drive the team, department, and organization forward. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal.

A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match our other efforts/needs?
  • Are you the right person?

Time-specific

The fifth term stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps a team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization. A time-specific goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.

A time-specific goal will usually answer the question:

  • When?
  • What can I do 6 months from now?
  • What can I do 6 weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

Evaluate

The sixth term stresses the importance of always evaluating how your goal is progressing (or has progressed). It is important to understand that this step is conducted throughout the entire goal process, as well as after the goal is met. The idea is to create a progress report to see if you are where you want to be in your goal. This is a crucial step before the seventh and last step.

Revise

The seventh and last step brings everything back in full circle. It stresses the importance of always being able to adapt to your environment and the challenges that arise. Revise enables you to be able to change your goals (by increasing or decreasing them) depending on the results of your evaluation step.

Example of S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals

Here is an example of a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal:

  • Example Club Goal: My goal is to recruit 5 new active members to our Rotaract Club by the end of next March. I will accomplish this by bringing 12 guests to our club meetings, having 8 of them become paid members, and by personally following-up and inviting these recruits to future club meetings as well as club events.
  • Specific element: The goal has the who/what/where/when (bring in new members, for Rotaract, to club meetings, by next March)
  • Measurable element: The goal has specific quantifiable numbers that allow it to be measured (5 new active members, 12 guests, 8 paid members)
  • Attainable element: Is this attainable? Yes, for a club of about 25 active members right now, this is a reasonable goal for someone to take on.
  • Time-specific element: Is this time-specific? Yes, it says it will be accomplished by next March. Let's say for the purpose of this example, this is a 10-month time-frame. That sounds reasonable.
  • Evaluate element: Evaluate this periodically every two months to see how the goal is working out. By the 5 month mark, the person should have at least half the goal (two active members recruited by him/her personally) completed.
  • Revise element: If the evaluation comes out that the person already completed the goal in three months, then increase the goal. If the evaluation comes out that the person is behind, then perhaps decrease the goal.

Reasons to use S.M.A.R.T.E.R. in Rotaract

  • It helps prepare Rotaractors for a professional career where you are expected to set your own goals for projects or for work. This is a technique used by successful project managers and entrepreneurs.
  • It improves the productivity of meetings by forcing leaders to set their goals with very specific and necessary elements to make sure that all goals set make sense and are specific enough to maximize the helpfulness.