Goal setting is your framework for success. Goal setting is the most critical step in the process of planning and executing against any key objective, initiative or campaign designed to achieve measurable results.
There are a number of goal management methodologies organizations and individual contributor use to obtain their goals. One of the most common methods is creating SMART Goals. SMART goals are relatively easy to understand and universally applicable to a wide range of projects and initiatives. Creating SMART goals can help you better manage and ultimately achieve your vision.
What Is a SMART Goal?
So what exactly makes a SMART goal?
S: Specific. A goal of “being the best” is too broad for specific execution. Make your goals more specific steps that will ultimately lead to you being the best.
M: Measurable. How will you tell if you are heading towards your goal? If you have metrics that will measure it, you will be much more likely to execute it.
A: Attainable/Achievable. Your goals should be lofty enough to inspire but not so big as to be unrealistic. Have big dreams for your company overall, but set smaller goals during the S.M.A.R.T. planning process in order to reach those lofty heights.
R: Relevant. Make sure your goals apply to you, your company, and what you want to accomplish.
T: Timely. Set a date for completion.
Download this SMART Goals template for a quick-reference guide that walks you through the steps to build your own set of S.M.A.R.T. goals, and start achieving success today.
BONUS: See your plan in action in the AchieveIt platform!
If you want to increase the success of your plan, one of our execution experts will be happy to give you a custom walkthrough using your plan details.
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How to Use Our SMART Goal Template
Now that you have the tools you need to create a successful SMART goal through our goals template in Excel, it’s important that you know how to use them. Before you start fabricating your SMART goal, take a look at our step-by-step guide full of instructions, considerations and suggestions you can use to devise the most actionable ambitions.
1. Determine the Structure
Though it’s possible to build out your SMART goals individually, there are other, more intricate structures you can employ to create the most comprehensive plan. Instead of defining a single goal, you can create a collection of objectives that fall within your ultimate plan.
Columns A and B in our free SMART goal template outline a structure for your goal. Be sure to develop a plan where each level cascades properly into the next before adding in your individual SMART goals.
When creating a SMART goal structure, try walking through the following steps to find an organization that works for you:
- Organize your plan by theme.
- Define the goals you want to accomplish.
- Quantify your objectives using metrics.
- Identify a strategy for achieving your goals.
- List all actionable items.
2. Create Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics
Next, it’s time to develop your SMART goals and your strategies for achieving them. In the rows of the SMART goals Excel template, insert the items that will make up the granular details of your plan. Match each level to the structure you outlined in Step 1.
Start by focusing on Column C, where you’ll name each item. Though you’ll see 11 example rows in the template, you can add or remove as many as you want to tailor the column to your objectives. You should generally have the following item numbers for each level:
- Theme: 3-5 total.
- Goal: 1-3 per theme.
- Objective: 1-2 per goal.
- Strategy: 2-5 per objective.
- Tactic: 2-5 per strategy.
3. Make Sure You Follow the SMART Guidelines
Once you’ve determined your SMART goals structure and strategic plan, you can begin plotting out your actual SMART goals. For this step, you’ll walk through each letter of the SMART acronym, following the guidelines for what makes a SMART goal:
- Column C: Make your plan specific and easily understandable.
- Columns D-H: Use quantifiable outcomes to make your plan measurable.
- Columns I and J: Ensure that your plan is achievable and holds members accountable.
- Column K: Add a description to the item explaining why the goal is relevant.
- Columns M and N: Create start and due dates for every item.
- Column L: Identify the goal’s current status, such as on track, off track, not started, achieved or canceled.
- Column O: Set a frequency for organization updates, such as weekly, monthly or quarterly.
4. Verify That Your Plan Is Set up for Successful Execution
Before you begin pursuing your plan, it’s vital to ensure that all elements are optimized for execution. Sometimes even minor adjustments to your outline can make a huge difference in getting your team through the last-stage resistance that can make it challenging to reach the finish line.
Keep these tips in mind when evaluating and modifying your plan:
- Identify quantitative outcomes.
- Assign each objective to one person.
- Ensure that your start and due dates are accurate and practical.
- Review plan progress periodically, beginning with a monthly update.
- Confirm that all initiatives are connected to one another and aligned with your goals.
5. Create an Execution Process
After you’ve verified that your plan is optimized for execution, you can ensure that it’s set up for success by monitoring and managing it along the way. If you find that your organization isn’t executing your plan successfully, you may be experiencing some of the common obstacles to plan execution, like a lack of clear objectives or visibility into progress.
You can determine how your goal execution is going by establishing a means of tracking your progress, such as an Integrated Plan Management Platform like AchieveIt.
How to Ensure the Success of Your SMART Goals
After using our SMART goal template in Excel, you can ensure your SMART goal’s success by signing on with AchieveIt. Our strategic planning software is designed to increase visibility, improve accountability and establish uniformity through a single source.
You can use our Integrated Plan Management platform to streamline your plan with the following tactics:
- Collect plan updates seamlessly.
- Improve accountability across your team.
- Align your plans and initiatives organization-wide.
- Increase visibility across all business plans.
Set Your SMART Goals Today
You can expertly structure, plan and execute your company’s SMART goals through the Excel template for goals from AchieveIt. We’re dedicated to helping organizations optimize their plan management strategies to achieve the best business outcomes. Our project management tools allow users to zoom in and out of projects and better understand how each initiative within the organization is performing individually.
Download our free SMART goal template or contact us for more information!