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SMART Goals for Managers and Their Teams

Updated on March 19, 2013

Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Time-Bound Goals for Managers and Teams

Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.

Jack Welch


SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

As a manager, you have a purpose of maximizing shareholders’ wealth. That means that you have to accomplish goals established for you by your company’s shareholders. Additionally, being a manager, you don’t work in a vacuum - you have a team. Thus, you also have your team’s goals you need to achieve. Moreover, you are in charge of many people, whom you usually have to help to set and reach their goals for performance. Ultimately, you have your personal career goals that need to be attained as well. The common trait for all of the above goals of a manager is that they also have to be multiplied by two: short-term goals and long-term goals for each category.


When you develop the SMART goal that will satisfy your shareholders, think about the market and where your company is currently positioned. Figure out what’s working well and what’s not. Compare it to the overall company’s vision and mission. Research your competitors and see who of them is way beyond your company now. Take a close look at what the competitor is doing and assess what of this your company isn’t currently doing. How can you model after your competitor and do even better? What will it take? How can you help your company to catch up? Build your SMART goal upon your findings.


When you develop a SMART goal for your team, remember that it’s a great tool to increase your team’s motivation. To help your subordinates own the goal and feel responsible for achieving it, include them in the process of developing the SMART goal. Of course, for your team to be effective, it may likely require team members to collaborate with other teams or departments. This would be a good topic to discuss when you work on the SUPPORT AND RESOURCES REQUIRED section of the SMART goals template offered in this article. Your team members may serve as accountability partners for one another. They may also find accountability partners within departments they have to collaborate with. Together, you may come up with great ideas on how to diversify your team’s competencies. You should also consider how each of you can add more value and make a note on your SMART goals worksheet.


When you help your employees set their goals, look beyond their job description. Encourage them to think about where each of them personally wants to be five years from now. Have them consider how they can add great value to advancing your company’s position in the marketplace, while also progressing rapidly toward their own career goals and obtaining the desired skills and knowledge. The popular saying suggests that eighty percent of productivity comes from twenty percent of activity. That means that your employees are very likely to show up for work to do just as much as required to receive their paycheck. Yet, I know for a fact that, if you ensure that professional SMART goals of your employees are aligned with their personal SMART goals for their career overall, you will get the most out of them in terms of productivity and commitment to excellence.


As you work on developing the SMART career goal for yourself, make sure you understand your "end in mind" - where you'd like to be 10 years from today. Once you know what you want and where you’re going as well as where you plan to end up, use the template to set your SMART goal that is aligned with your self-discoveries.


Finally, you have to realize that you are the one to execute upon these goals and strategies. It may require you to help people stop second-guessing themselves. It may take your courage to lead them toward some essential mind-shifts. And it is your direct responsibility to ensure that your team is wholeheartedly into achieving the best and greatest results. When all of you are on board, your strategy is clear and your minds are focused, you will be able to achieve the desired goals in the shortest time.

SMARt goals worksheet

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