This is the Real Impact of Leaders Helping Teams with SMART Goals

The idea of SMART Goals has been around since 1981, when George T. Doran wrote an article about an easy way to create objectives in the November 1981 issue of the Management Review.

The difference between an ordinary, non-strategic goal or objective and a SMART Goal is that with SMART Goals, everyone knows what needs to be done and by what date.

There’s a fine line between a mediocre goal and an excellent SMART Goal:  

A starting line, a finish line, and a deadline.

From X, to Y, by When …

For example, the acronym SMART stands for:

Specific – the goal is laser-focused

Measurable – a quantifiable metric can be used to measure whether or not the goal is achieved

Achievable – the goal is challenging yet attainable

Relevant – the goal is relevant to and supports the overarching vision (that’s why we created a vision first)

Time-Bound – the date or period of time within which the goal/objective must be achieved 

Why is it important for leaders to help others with setting SMART Goals?

Understanding what SMART Goals are certainly helps leaders think more strategically about how they lead their team.  However, taking the time to help others create their own SMART Goals is the next level, when it comes to making sure people feel important.  

Aside from how important people feel when they realize their leader has taken time out of their schedule to help them, this also creates those self-motivating environments we talked about earlier.  

This is how impactful the SMART Goal-setting process is to your ability to motivate and inspire your team:  Once SMART Goals are set, leaders effectively create a self-motivating environment.  This is what research has shown actually motivates people.  

Recall our prior writing on the three ways leaders can create self-motivating environments:

  • Community, or Relatedness – everyone has shared goals
  • Competence, or Mastery – an opportunity to prove their competence
  • Control, or Autonomy – SMART Goals get set; leaders delegate and separate. 

“Don’t look at the big picture as the only achievement.  Start with set, SMART Goals and work up to something bigger.” – Jordyn Wieber, American gymnast

PS – Great coaches are as graceful as they are wise, and as driven as they are diligent. The environments they create inspire and motivate people to grow and develop in ways they never knew they needed to grow.

We respond to great coaches because they help us get comfortable getting uncomfortable. They certainly say the right things, at the right times, for the right purpose; but it’s also how they say it which inspires us to dig deep within ourselves to give our best instead of shutting down.

Learn how we can help your leaders become great coaches here.