Building a SMART Goals Template

As mentioned in our 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 to download your own template to get started translating SMART goals into results that can be executed.

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

AchieveIt Smart Goals TemplateHere 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

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.

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


M is for Measurable | Smart Goals Template

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 a numeric target, having these results visible to your team can add tremendous momentum to your organization.

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


A is for Achievable| Smart Goals Template

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.

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


R is for Relevant | Smart Goals Template

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.

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


T is for Time Bound | Smart Goals Template

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.

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

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.

About AchieveIt

AchieveIt is the platform that large organizations use to get their biggest, most important initiatives out of the boardroom and into reality. Too many great ideas never quite make it across the finish line, because there’s no real way to keep everyone on course and keep everything on track. What does it take to actually guide these initiatives all the way through to completion? You’ve got to:

  1. Get everything in view – so you can see what’s happening with every initiative, at every level, from the enterprise to the individual, in real time.
  2. Get everyone engaged – with an easy-to-use platform that connects your organization from the executive leadership to the project teams, keeping everyone accountable and on the same page.
  3. Get every possible advantage – not only because you have the premier platform in this space, but because you can draw on the experience and best practices of our execution experts.

That’s why everyone from global corporations, to regional healthcare systems, to federal agencies have turned to AchieveIt for their Integrated Plan Management. Let’s actually do this.


Meet the Author  Amanda Ferenczy

Hear directly from our awesome customers

See first-hand why the world's best leaders use AchieveIt

See AchieveIt in action 

Stay in the know. Join our community of subscribers.

Subscribe for plan execution content sent directly to your inbox.