Why Smart Goals Need To Be Smarter

– Guest Writer: Lindsay Taylor – Your Excellency

The star of “goal setting” since the 1980’s when first introduced by American Consultant George T Doran in his whitepaper “There’s a SMART Way to write management goals and objectives”. The simple and effective framework to ensure your goals can be defined, measured and achieved. 

How proud are you when you can run through the SMART acronym and apply it to your goals asking yourself: 

S = Specific IS my goal clearly defined and can it be interpreted correctly? 
M = Measurable How will I measure my goal so that I have tangible evidence that I have achieved it? Is there a number associated with it? 
A = Achievable/AttainableIs this something I am able to do? Have I got the balance right between stretching myself and ensuring I have the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to achieve the goal?
R = Relevant Does my goal fit with my needs and wants? Is it fulfilling for me? How does it fit with my other goals?
T = Time boundWhen will I achieve my goal? Have I set a target date to achieve it? 

But in today’s demanding and fast-paced business environment how robust is Doran’s method? How SMART is SMART? 

The SMARTER option

Here’s the SMARTER option. You’re going to add the “E” and the “R” to your SMART goals. 

E = Exciting                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

It’s all very well identifying your SMART goal but unless you have the excitement and motivation to achieve that goal, it will remain just that. A written goal. There is more likelihood of you achieving your goal if it’s something you really want. Hone in on the “R” of your SMART goal by ensuring the Relevance also has an element of “E” excitement in it. 

Ask yourself: 

  • How exciting is this goal? 
  • What score out of 10 would you give it? (10 being the most you want this)?
  • If you’re scoring it 7, 8 or 9 what can you add to your goal to make it a 10? 
  • Imagine you’ve achieved this goal. Does it excite you? 
  • What are you going to gain from it? What’s in it for you?

Now identify the first step you will take. However small that first step is, this is the momentum that will ensure you’re on the path towards achieving your goal. Write your first step in SMART terms and set your Timebound criteria as the next 24 hours.

R = Recorded                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Brilliant. You’ve recorded your SMART goal by writing it down.

Now take this recording one step further. Share your goal with someone else. You’ve shared your goal with others and by doing so you’ve “put yourself on the line” and are likely to be more committed to achieving it. 

Now that’s SMART. 


Doran, G. T. (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives”, Management Review, Vol. 70, Issue 11, pp. 35-36

Taylor, L (2015) A-Z Pearls of Wisdom for Executive PAs. Bedfordshire : Your Excellency Ltd pp 44-49


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