Designing Goals


Be it individual, or corporate or even government run organization, they all need goals. Most of us grow up listening to people about how important it is to have goals, and all the nice things about keeping performance in check through goals. So all that while most of the information that we receive about goal setting is reinforcing the same basic issues.

What we come to learn at a management school is something that is very much applicable in effective goal design and setting. Goals should be S M A R T. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.

If smart goal designs are understood and implemented, this could lead to a huge degree of change in the results.

Specific means you provide a quantifiable figure to your goal. For instance, increasing profitability by 10% for instance, rather than targeting higher profits.

Measurable means that you keep checking in to your target and current state and gauge the difference to note your progress. One, it motivates you toward achieving your goal and Two, it acts as a warning sign if you are going off.

Attainable is a bit tricky, however, to put simply, goals should be achievable given the resources that you have in terms of time, effort, finances, energy, skillset, etc. Here, also important is the open acceptance of goals, not imposed acceptance.

Realistic is to say that these should neither be too easy nor be very difficult, as in both the cases most people will lose their drive and stop working hard enough.

Time-bound is an important fifth pillar of SMART goals. All goals should be linked to a time component to see if work targets have been met in time.

On the finishing note, in order to increase goal effectiveness, make sure you write down your SMART goals. Once you have it written, it comes as a reaffirmation of your conviction in the goals and would increase the chances of success of your planning endeavor.

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