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SMART Objectives


Does anyone have any new ideas on how to train managers to write SMART objectives? Most managers understand the principles but have problems actually writing them. Any ideas welcome.
sunita prasad

25 Responses

  1. SMART Exercise
    Send me an e mail address and I’ll send you a Word Based exercise.

  2. SMART Objectives
    Objectives should always start with the words…..”to ensure that…”

    This will give people the idea that there is a link between controls and objectives.

    Then, the objective should have reference to time, cost, scope, and quality. These are the 4 dimensions of an activity or project.

    So, we end up with the classic payroll objective of…” to ensure that all and only bonafide employees are paid the correct amounts at the correct time in the most efficient, effective and economic manner”.

    I always try and throw in the 3 E’s. Some would say that this can be 4 E’s in some systems, eg. now include “environment”.

    Hope this potted answer helps. But contact me for more on this if you need to.

  3. SMART Goals?

    I think that first, you/we should establish which (i.e. whose?) ‘version’ of ‘SMART’ (goals) you are referring to, because that would directly influence any other comments?


    John Chamberlin

  4. Activity around SMART
    One activity I’ve used is based around a football team. You set the scene by explaining that Fred Bloggs FC have just bought a £10m striker and want to ensure they get a return on investment. The football club has 4 Key Result Areas: 1 To win the league
    2 Encourage Supporters
    3 Player Development
    4 Availability to play.
    The groups then have to write a SMART objective for each area for the player –
    for example:
    1 Striker must score at least 30 goals per season
    2 Striker must visit children’s ward of local hospital once a month
    3 Striker must attend 98% of standard training sessions per month and one specialised training session per month
    4 Player must not get more than 2 red cards per season.
    Because you’re taking the delegates out of the working environment, they get engaged with the idea in a different way.
    Hope this helps

  5. My Defintions
    Specific = Is there a description of a precise or specific behaviour / outcome which is linked to a rate, number, percentage or frequency?

    Measurable = Is there a reliable system in place to measure progress towards the achievement of the objective?

    Achievable = With a reasonable amount of effort and application can the objective be achieved?

    Relevant = Can the person with whom the objective is set make an impact on the situation? Do they have the necessary knowledge, authority and skill and is it relevant to the organisational goals and aims?

    Time Based = Is there a finish and/or a start date clearly stated or defined?

    Occasionally ‘A’ is defined as Agreed, but as this refers to the process of setting objectives rather than the criteria for assessing the written objective I have dropped this in favour of Achievable.

    ‘R’ is also sometimes presented as Realistic as I cannot distinguish between Achievable and Realistic I have opted for Relevant.

  6. You need to be clear about SMART yourself.
    As you comment, Sunita, most managers understand the principles of writing SMART objectives but have problems actually writing them. I ran two workshops this week looking at the application of business planning techniques for managers with a couple of years’ experience. All struggled to write objectives that were SMART.

    The sessions started with the managers choosing a complex project to work on such as organising a charity football match, organising a work trip to Amsterdam or arranging a wedding. They they worked on a vision / mission statement, conducted PEST (political, economical, social, technological) analyses and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses and determined Critical Success Factors before looking at objective setting.

    The breakout session was to write three SMART objectives using their Critical Success Factors. The time allocated was fifteen minutes but a few minutes longer was needed.

    Each group presented their SMART objectives to the rest of the workshop to be critiqued. Each objective was run through SMART (Is it specific? Is it measurable?….etc.) Even presented in this manner, the groups were prepared to accept objectives that did not fulfill SMART, eg they were not exactly specific enough or did not have a time element incorporated.

    It is vital that the trainer is clear about what is acceptable as a SMART objective and be prepared to really push delegates accepting nothing less than an objective that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable / Attainable, Reasonable and Time bound.

  7. Word Based exercise
    Any chance you can mail me the Word Based exercise? We are just on our way to train all our managers in writing SMART objectives and any help is appreciated! My addrss is:

  8. Training course on SMART objectives

    I am an HR Manager for a newly established comany. We are introducing an Annual Performance Appraisal at the end of the year and I need to train line managers on how to write/ set SMART objectives for their direct reports.

    Does anybody have some well-written guidelines on objective setting? I would also be very grateful to receive some relevant training exercises to do with them to illustrate the importance of setting objectives for the coming year.

    I hope you can help!

  9. Training material
    Hi Fleur Keller,
    i have just developed a lot of material on setting SMART objectives for managers, so if you let meknow your e-mail address I can mail you some cases and examples.

  10. Who put the ‘ART’ in ‘SMART’?

    Send me your e-mail and I’ll send you a short article?


    John C.

  11. SMART exercises!
    Hi there, I am also keen to find some SMART objective setting exercises to include in Performance Review Training. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Many Thanks,

  12. Exercise or real examples?
    Hi Ian
    Rather than ‘exercises’ what about asking individuals to come with real life examples and help them to work on real problems – their own or someonelses..
    The only ‘exercise’ I would do in this area is an example around making tea/ coffee or answering a phone. But would only do this as a one off.

  13. SMART objectives or targets exercises

    Does anyone have any SMART objectives/target setting exercises for managers that I can draw from and use in an e-learning module? It would be extremely helpful. The information I have is scant.

    Thanks very much

  14. SMART Exercise

    Hi Garry,

    I am in desperate need of an activity around SMART objectives.

    Please could you send me the exercise you mentioned on training zone.

    Many thanks

  15. Smart goal setting


    I read on the training zone that you had some exercises or exemples for training managers and employees on how to set up SMART performance objectives. I wanted to ask you to send me some, if possible.

    Thank you very much in advance,

    Ana Gonzalez

  16. SMART Objectives


    You said you had an exercise to help train SMART objectives.  Could you send it to me thanks.


  17. Exercises on SMART Objectives

    Dear all,

    I am rolling out a series of workshops around setting SMART Objectives and  writing your appraisal, for both appraisees and appraisers.   I have read on Training Zone that many of you have some useful exercises, particuarly around SMART objectives.  

    Would you be able to email them across to me please.  My email is

    Many thanks and have a great Easter.

    Bhrona Long


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