All Posts by Amanda Ferenczy

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Building a SMART Goals Template

By Amanda Ferenczy

Building a SMART Goals Template

As mentioned in our previous History of SMART Goals, we outlined Doran’s theories on goal setting. Before we get to talking about creating a SMART goals template, it’s worth revisiting what Doran espoused. His formulation seems simple now, but it was novel at the time.  Goals should be five things:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

When reflecting on those criteria, it never hurts to have a SMART goals template to use with your team to identify the proper areas of the goal.  We’ve developed a spreadsheet you can fill out with all the critical components of your SMART goals. If you are an AchieveIt user, you can have us load it into AchieveIt for you (more on that at the end of this post). Otherwise click here or scroll down to the end of this post and download your own template to get started translating SMART goals into executional results.

Let’s walk through an example together for a Business Operations plan:

AchieveIt Smart Goals Template

Here is how an overall SMART goal template will look; now let’s drill down further to get greater clarity below.


S is for Specific Smart Goals Template

As the “S” in SMART implies, make sure your goals are not vague.

Make sure to split out your various assignments into reasonable deliverables with categories that help you identify the areas you will focus on throughout the plan. Avoid vague wording such as “Conduct meeting” or “Send documents.” Those assignments would be tough to immediately take action in a meaningful way.



M is for Measurable | Smart Goals Template

Make your goals measureable so that you can track your progress.


Here’s the most wonderful part of the entire SMART goals template exercise; RESULTS!  You and your team can outline what good looks like and where should that finish line be placed. For most of our clients, defining the brass ring and the end target can have amazing effects on the team. It gives you all a rally cry, a target and especially a moment that you can identify to celebrate as an organization.  Whether it be a revenue target, a percentage target or numeric target, having these results visible to your team can add tremendous momentum to your organization.


A is for Achievable| Smart Goals Template

Achievable, assignable, and accountable. Make sure your goals are all three.

Clarity and coordination around your plan is never more important than when you identify the right resources that can help you achieve your goals.  It’s most important to identify a key accountable person who is responsible for the assignments. So it’s essential to track carefully in your SMART goals template.



R is for Relevant | Smart Goals Template

It is essential goals are relevant to the person/s accountable for achieving them.


When developing your assignments, it helps to provide context on why the assignment has been created, what the intentions for the deliverables could be, and why they are relevant to the individual, the team and/or the organization. Adding descriptions to your assignments can give the team members more information to better fulfill their goals.


T is for Time Bound | Smart Goals Template

A timeline with specific due dates is essential to apply to all activities.


With your relevant goals and assignment in mind, it’s also important to outline appropriate timelines for execution. A common mistake is to put every start date and due date at the beginning and end of a quarter or year. Instead, try to be more thoughtful on the time period that will transpire during execution. Sometimes a month is more appropriate versus a whole quarter. Choosing appropriate timelines will greatly assist team members in assigning priorities.



Tracking progress towards achieving SMART goals:

Great!  You have now developed all the critical components for your SMART goals through a simple SMART goals template. The next steps is to consider a methodology for tracking progress.  You could continue to track the goals in the completed template, marking items Achieved or Not Achieved throughout the timelines. However, there are other technology solutions that could support your SMART goals.  For example, taking the same Business Operations plan, let’s see how it translate into a cloud-based Results Management System, such as AchieveIt.

Smart Goals Template Dashboard

Smart Goals Template Dashboard2


Rather than a static spreadsheet, which requires constant versioning, with AchieveIt, you can interact with the execution of your plans through dashboards and update to progress notes. Cloud-based Results Management solutions can help you and your team keep your SMART goals in the forefront of your mind.

If you would like to see your SMART goals loaded into our software, then send it over to us at and we will show you the plan!

How have you typically tracked and formed your SMART goals?

Once again, click here to download your Excel SMART Goals template.

CTA_goals come in many forms

Strategic Planning Flaws

By Amanda Ferenczy

Strategic Planning Flaws

Recently, we were stunned when a new client handed us their strategic plan to review. The document was about 50 pages long and nothing more than a collection of Word tables that listed the activities of the organization’s leadership team. Of all the potential strategic planning flaws you could run into, this one is critical because it also gives rise to the most lethal flaw on our list of strategic planning flaws.

As we were to learn, strategic planning there was a rhetorical exercise in which everyone filled out a form at the beginning of each year listing the things they were going to accomplish. The forms were assembled into a tidy document and updated quarterly. It was all very task-oriented.

Yes, strategic plans contain tasks, but not in a vacuum. Without goals, objectives, and strategies to provide context, the tasks are meaningless. In this case, they were.

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Developing an Accountable Culture

By Amanda Ferenczy

Developing an Accountable Culture

In a recent blog, I outlined the four stages of cultural evolution that are often experienced by organizations that implement our best-of-breed Execution Management System, and in this blog we address the development of an accountable culture. The four stages of evolution are:

  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Execution
  • Innovation

As organizations develop a true Execution Management System, they naturally evolve through these four stages of cultural evolution, each with its own distinct characteristics. The speed and pace in which an organization transforms itself varies in response to many factors, including size, leadership, competitive rivalry within the industry, the threat of new entrants or market substitutes, the bargaining power of buyers and suppliers, internal constraints and capabilities, and external environmental conditions. All of these elements impact the speed at which you can develop an accountable culture.

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The Execution Flywheel Stage 1: Culture of Collaboration

By Amanda Ferenczy

The Execution Flywheel Stage 1: Culture of Collaboration

Developing a culture of execution doesn’t happen by accident. It takes focus, hard work, consistent effort, and a proven roadmap by which to navigate. While we can’t make the first three components any easier for you, we certainly can make your journey more directed and successful by providing a comprehensive methodology for implementing a best-of-breed Execution Management System. Our Execution Flywheel is derived from nearly one hundred years of combined management experience and has resulted in dramatic organizational transformations.

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