SMART is an abbreviation for the following...
  • Specific and focused actions:- Objectives, aims and goals should be specific and in a clear unambiguously written format. A vague objective or goal, which exists only in the mind of a single individual, serves no real productive purpose at all.
  • Measurable results and outcomes:- Objectives, aims and goals should be formulated in operational, executable or measurable terms. The standards against which objectives will be measured should be well defined and clear. The more specific objectives are, the easier to assess, evaluate and monitor.
  • Achievable processes:- Objectives, aims and goals should be attainable. We should bear in mind that objectives are attainable only when others (i.e. subordinates, employees or a team) responsible for the execution of the tasks, actually believe that these objectives or goals can be achieved. All parties/subordinates involved should - for this reason - be accommodated in the process of formulating objectives in the first place. In this manner joint-ownership of goals can be established to a large extent. We should also realize that unattainable high standards or too low standards adversely affect the levels of motivation and conative actions... and eventually impact negatively on the aspiration/performance cycles of people.
  • Realistic and practical:- Objectives, aims and goals should be realistic. An objective is not an ideal or a dream. It is a clear description of an end result, which will be obtained at a given time and once certain processes (i.e. set of action steps) are conducted or a specific strategy implemented. We frequently make the mistake of setting objectives without considering the limitations that apply within our environment. These objectives are then unrealistic. We needs to gather all information regarding available money, labour and effort (i.e. strengths & weaknesses) and to consider this information in detail. When we reach the conclusion that resources are limited, priorities should be set to allow the productive channelling of energies and resources towards the successful attainment of these priority objectives.
  • Timely actions:- An achievement time frame should be attached to all objectives, goals and aims. A final end date should be determined for once off objectives. For goals which will be implemented on a reoccurring basis (i.e. regular intervals), words such as "monthly" or "every Monday" would be suffice.
The following picture says it all...

An example of SMART actions! One dive... 3 fishes!

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