How To Set Smart Goals & Make Them A Reality: Effective Tips For Managers


Many Managers are finding success in achieving their goals by setting SMART goals. However, many fail to make them a reality due to missing important information and guidance along the way. The purpose of this blog is to give a simple method to all the managers so that you can make your goals into reality. We will start with explaining what exactly are smart goals and we will give 7 effective tips for managers for setting smart goals for their teams. we will further give tips on how to achieve these goals effectively.

What are smart goals?

The S.M.A.R.T goal stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, and it is used to guide goal setting. To elaborate, we’ll briefly explain each part of S.M.A.R.T goals with basic examples of smart goals and non-smart goals for better understanding.


The goal should be extremely clear. Everyone involved in the goal-setting process will be able to understand it without confusion. The goals you set should be so specific and should have such clarity that they leave no room for misinterpretations and going off track. A specific goal comes with a specific action plan to pursue it and that makes it easier for an employee to carry it out.

Smart goal – We will be targeting the age group of 15 to 30 years for our new product.

Non-smart goal – We will be targeting young people for our new product


The goal should be measurable. You cant measure an unknown quantity with success, goals need to have concrete targets and objectives that can be measured on. The outcome of a goal can only be measured after its completion. Therefore to measure it we need a method for measuring progress that is definite and consistent.

The goal must be measurable through clear, predetermined means before it is put in place or after its completion. In short- A measurement system for Smart Goals must include ways of tracking results so you know how close people are towards achieving these specific goals. By having a Measurable goal employees can monitor their progress and adjust properly.

Smart goal – Each team member of the social media team should make 5 posts each day.

Non-smart goal – Each team member of the social media team should make a good number of posts each day.


Goals should not challenge the ability of people to achieve them. Managers should know the capabilities of their employees and the systems they have deployed in their business. They should then incorporate that information to set goals that can be challenging for their employees’ professional development but should be achievable. They should be within the intensity of their employees’ capabilities.

Smart goal– Person A (a new business development executive) should call and send personalized emails to 10 leads per day this quarter. Person B (an experienced business development executive) should call and send personalized emails to 25 leads per day this quarter.

Non-smart goal – Every business development executive should call and send personalized emails 100 leads per day.


Goals need to be in line with the surrounding environment. You cant set unrealistic goals, but you can make them a lot more challenging if needed while still being realistic. The goals should reflect the reality of your business’s current standing. Setting up unrealistic goals will demotivate your employees when they are not achieved. They may even deviate you from achieving the deserved business success by taking you and your team in the wrong direction. This doesn’t mean that the goals should not be stretched to push the capabilities of the organization and individuals.

Smart goal – We should have a jump from 10% to 15% of the market share by the end of the quarter.

Non-smart goal – We should have a jump from 10% to 50% of the market share by the end of the quarter.


The goal needs to have a Target Date. You cannot let a goal drift away and do nothing. If you make an achievable goal then drive it towards your Target Date. Managers should make sure that the goals they set are strictly time-bound. This will make it clear for the employees over the amount of time they do have to achieve the desired goals.

Smart goal – Business analysts should submit the growth reports by Tuesday EOD.

Non-smart goal – Business analysts should submit growth reports ASAP.

Tips for setting smart goals

1. Establish a goal-setting process with your team

Smart goals are something you’ll always have to create and track, so a managers’ first step should be to implement a goal-setting process that ensures your team is all on the same page. This can ensure that everyone is on the same page, feeling safe and seeing a common goal. A team will always be able to communicate better if they understand how things progress together. By making your staff aware of this process you’ll all get there faster!

The process must be meaningful to each person on the team for individual and team goals. it should cater to the objectives to work, and an employee must buy into it. This method ensures that the employee and manager both understand the goal. This method will also have a positive impact on employee engagement as employees will feel involved in business processes.

2. Identify personal and professional drivers for success

Personal drives are what motivate you. They are the difference between going from 50% motivation to 100%. These can include things such as security, job satisfaction, and stability in your job. This will change over time depending on their needs for personal success.

The professional drivers will include transparency of goals, soft skills, etc. These will also change over time based on their tasks, profession, and role. They should be included in the goal process for alignment with employee objectives either personal or professional goals.

These drivers can be unique for different managers and identifying them will prove to be highly effective for the process of smart goal-setting.

3. Brainstorm potential smart goals that align with your personal and professional drivers of success

After identifying these drivers, managers can incorporate them into the smart goals and incentives of their employees. That will ultimately make goal-setting much more efficient. The goals and incentives should be able to foster the desired results that lead you in the direction of your personal and professional drivers of success. Managers should Identify these potential goals and ask their employees for their input about the ones that will result in success for them either personally or professionally.

Externally, employees will notice a sense of surprise and fulfillment that drives the success for their personal and professional purposes. Employees tend to feel motivated about doing more tasks that help them achieve success in every area including family, job security, or any of their own goals. The ultimate goal is making employees thrive as professionals by satisfying both external demands like work goals while also realizing inner desires such as achieving financial progress or becoming self-sufficient outside of your job role.

4. Make sure your smart goals are attainable

Make sure that your goals are realistic and measurable. Don’t expect your employees to stay motivated by setting lofty goals that are hard to achieve with unrealistic expectations. Set realistic, attainable, and measurable goals. Make sure that people have a chance to achieve what they make their mind up about. For example, if you’re aiming for more in your career and wanting to manage more employees, break goals down by month and year so it becomes attainable step-by-step.

Attainability is extremely important when establishing personal or professional objectives or employee goals because it removes the possibility of failing up to a great extent. Job requirements should not exceed an employee’s capabilities nor cannot get any easier than what he/she has in their skill set currently.

5. Make sure all the smart goals have a specific deadline, metric, or target employees to ensure accountability & motivation

When setting goals, make sure that each goal is clearly defined. Goals need to have specific details about deadlines, means by which actual results are gauged (metrics/Targets), and how the objectives will benefit everyone involved in reaching it regardless of their particular roles or positions within a company.

The clearer you can be about the deadlines, metrics, and target employees, the greater chance people have in achieving the targets laid out by your goals and objectives. If you are not clear enough with what the goal is when they start, it may put the fear of failure in them which might slow down their progress as a whole. Clarity on deadlines can help employees in time management. Clarity on metrics will help employees in understanding on what basis will their performance reviews be done. Similarly clarity on target employees will clear which of the employees are targeted for the specific goal.

6. Always assess opportunities that come up along the way

Another plus point of Smart goals is that they can change or upgrade when new opportunities arise. Continue to assess opportunities that come up with regards to reaching your goal. It might be a great plan if something unexpected happens and you can take advantage of it. You may be able to create different goals that may lead to better outcomes. What you should understand is that even if your specific goal was not achieved, it does not mean your overall objectives for the company are also defeated.

7. Make sure goals remain realistic in order from priority

Make sure, though the Smart Goals are considered to be detailed and urgent, they still retain realistic priorities. They must not make impossible assumptions that will turn out to be another goal that doesn’t stand a chance of being achieved if it is unrealistic in any way.

Don’t overestimate your goals but make sure you don’t underestimate them as well! Usually at first when individuals set smart goals they often can feel overwhelmed by where to start, what to focus on, or how much time will it take? The extension in between smart and old school timelines can seem painstakingly slow if you’re not careful.

How to achieve smart goals

Setting S.M.A.R.T goals will help you perform optimally, but achieving them is another matter. All these smart goals have great potential to bring great success to your team and prove your effective leadership. But all these benefits will come up only if you can achieve these goals in the first place. Therefore we have these tips for you to make sure that you achieve these goals effectively-

> Create an Action Plan to achieve your smart goals

Many employees are confused because they don’t have a clear plan on how to achieve their goals. However, there is no doubt that without action plans you can’t get anywhere close to your goal. Action planning will help them in getting closer and more focused on their personal goals and that of their teams. They will be able to create a roadmap of all the key steps required for them to clarify their goals. Therefore, managers after setting smart goals should also create an action plan for their employees to achieve them

> Revisit your goal-setting process regularly to ensure that you are staying on track & adapting as needed.

Review your goals once a quarter. You should be thinking about how you see yourself or the company compared to these goals and what have you done so far as well. Reviewing your progress helps you make adjustments and it also gives you a chance to appreciate what has worked as well as identify places where there is room for improvement.

You should also update your goals whenever information & research on the market changes. Check what other people, companies, or private sector projects are doing and make sure you give yourself a competitive edge. Make sure you do nothing that undermines your ability to achieve these goals. So, be cautious while making decisions and always remember the end goal.

> Stay positive, focused, and committed

Keeping an optimistic attitude should drive you during the journey of achieving your smart goals. If your goals are too ambitious and unrealistic, it can harm your whole team performance badly as we mentioned above. A team needs a strong leader and positive leadership is the ultimate goal of every smart goal. This will also have a positive impact on employee morale.

> Delegating effectively and communicating expectations as clearly as possible

Managers can achieve more goals by taking on additional tasks from their employees. Extending the work to your team members not only cuts down the workload that you might have but also helps them understand what’s expected of them and why it is important for everybody involved. Your team should feel assured in a sense as they know exactly where they stand with respect to this task or responsibility, and they should also deliver with pride.

Every team member has a role to play in the team. They have to be responsible for their goal achievement too. Therefore it is highly important for managers to effectively communicate the expectations and action plans of employees to them. A leader keeps reminding the members that it is their task and every individual plays an important part in the team.

> Encouraging them to give constructive feedback in order not to let performance slip

Unreliable employees are the biggest headache of a manager. These kinds of people cause everything to get messed up because they do not take feedback appropriately. Their performance then goes down significantly. You have to motivate your team members that without proper constructive feedback there’s no way they can give best-in-class output or perform at such high levels as expected by them.

To be sure on this point, it is better for managers to collect different types of feedback from their team and share it with them. This also helps in taking care of any possible conflicts between employees or getting things on track before these begin to take place.

> Running meetings effectively

A manager should run effective meetings so that they make all employee members more vigilant when needing to put things into action. These meetings can help employees in achieving desired results against time frames as suggested by their respective managers. Alternatively, having an effective meeting will also help members know about upcoming updates which then helps them in their work.

it is highly important for employees to be updated on progress and time frames. It helps them evaluate their input over a period of time and they can then change it according to the shortcomings if any.


Smart goals are goals that are attainable, measurable, and specific. They should be realistic and achievable, but at the same time, they should also be challenging. Smart goals must have a deadline so that you can measure your progress. Smart goals require an ongoing commitment from everyone involved in the goal. It means that they cannot be achieved overnight or by any one person. It is a manager’s responsibility to set goals for his/her team and only they are responsible to make their team achieve those goals. Setting smart goals for your organization can evidently increase your chance to achieve business success.

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