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Unbroken Resolve

"Today's Leadership Development Determines Tomorrow's Success."

How to Accomplish SMART Goals in the Workplace Effectively

How to go about setting SMART goals in the workplace
How to Effectively Accomplish SMART Goals in the Workplace

It’s important to set goals if you want to achieve something, whether personal or in the workplace. Research has shown that goals tend to serve four basic functions for you:

  1. Provide guidance and direction

  2. Facilitate in planning

  3. Motivating and inspiring employees

  4. Helping evaluate and control performance

As a leader, you must set goals for your team, but it is also important that they set their own goals that drive them forward. That will ensure that they’re working towards the success of the company and that they are motivated and committed in terms of their performance.

However, it can be questionable how well-thought-out and useful some goals are for your team. If the goals set are too challenging or too easy, it can create several issues among team members in terms of their drive and motivation. For instance, it can be extremely demotivating for your team if your goals are set unrealistically high, and it can be equally problematic if they are set too low, as people will feel that they have nothing to strive for.

It’s important to have useful, productive goals that make all the difference when creating a team that works both as individuals and together towards well-established aims. Those without clearly outlined goals can experience problems when they’re setting tasks into action. This is where you, as their leader, can step in and provide your employees with attainable and challenging goals to strive towards.

With SMART goals, you can be sure that you’re setting for yourself achievable and attainable benchmarks that can lead to your success and development. SMART goals should conform to the criteria of Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Relevant, and Timely. Outside of that, the goals can be made to suit your own needs and expectations, depending on what you’re aiming to gain from them. They should help provide you with a clear purpose and lead to the successful goal completion that feels stress-free and straightforward.

SMART goal criteria is a great basis of goal setting and there are more factors involved. Apart from the SMART goal criteria, it is important that goals are attainable and realistic without being too simplistic and easily achieved. Goals that are too easily completed are at risk for being pointless and not motivating enough; too difficult, and they’ll never be within reach.

Research shows that employees are highly motivated when there is a 50% chance of achieving a goal. Stretch yourself and your team with something to aim towards, but you must make sure that it’s something that can be reasonably worked towards. To help you out, we will be sharing how to accomplish SMART goals in the workplace effectively:


There’s no point in setting vague goals that don’t achieve anything specific for you. Research by the creators of goal setting theory, Locke & Latham, found that in 90% of studies, specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than when people were set either easy goals, ‘do your best’ goals or no goals at all. It’s important for both you and your employees to have clear and established aims to avoid potentially setting goals so broad that they are overwhelming and, therefore, too difficult to set into action.


Once you have a specific goal pinned down, you should ensure that the success or completion of that goal can be measured. This doesn’t need to be in the traditional sense, like on a numeric scale or a statistic; it just has to be measurable in some sense, so that it is clear when you have reached or are close to reaching your goal. This is a great way to keep track of progress in the workplace, for both you as a leader and your team members. If the goal is to reach a certain number of followers on Twitter, for instance, having a measurable goal in the form of a number is a sure-fire way of measuring and independently keeping track of progress.


A SMART goal must be assignable to someone other than yourself, your team, or individual team members. If you decide that you want to achieve something as a team, assign someone the responsibility for tracking progress, implementing action steps, and keeping the team motivated towards reaching this goal.


It is important that any goals set for teams or individuals are relevant to the company-wide aims. Of course, goal completion is important, and having goals met or worked towards is the overall idea when setting them, but this is only really beneficial when the goals are productive in the workplace environment and will contribute to the success of the company in some way. As a leader, you need to help your employees link their goals back to the wider team and company-wide goals. One of the best ways to motivate your employees is to make sure they know how their work contributes to the bigger picture.


Your goals must be time-related. It’s not productive to set a deadline that is too far into the future for a simple task, or an unrealistically short deadline for something complex and time-consuming. This common pitfall can be incredibly demotivating for staff. They’re either left with an abundance of time in which they are not pushing themselves or are left feeling stressed and demotivated when they fail to complete goals within the given time. The same applies to a management position. You need to ensure that, whether goals are for yourself, or involve others, the appropriate time frame is provided so that neither you nor your team members are left feeling discouraged.

Goals are a powerful tool to not only grow your company but your people as well. Effectively help your team learn to establish SMART goals for their work and watch productivity and morale soar within your origination.

Need help learning to develop SMART goals for yourself or leading your team to develop SMART goals within your organization? Then let us here at Unbroken Resolve (CLICK HERE) help you and your team get started today.

Craig Ratliff

Unbroken Resolve

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