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SMART Goals refer to a framework for setting objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This approach is designed to provide clarity and focus, ensuring that goals are not only well-defined but also actionable and trackable.


The goal should be clear, unambiguous, and direct, answering the basic questions of who, what, where, when, and why.


It should be possible to measure progress and completion. Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are commonly used for this purpose.


The goal should be realistic, considering the resources available and the constraints of the situation.


It should align with broader business objectives or personal aspirations, ensuring that achieving the goal will have a meaningful impact.


There should be a clearly defined time frame within which the goal is to be achieved, adding a sense of urgency and focus.

The SMART Goals methodology provides a structured way to articulate and pursue objectives, making it easier to plan, track, and reach them. It is a popular tool in various settings, from personal development to organisational planning and performance management.

Origin of the SMART Goals

The SMART Goals framework is often attributed to Peter Drucker's Management by Objectives concept, although the acronym itself was not used by Drucker. The first-known use of the term appears to be in a 1981 paper by George T. Doran titled "There's a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management's goals and objectives." The paper was published in the "Management Review" journal and aimed to clarify the principles of objective-setting for managers.

George T. Doran, along with contributions from others in the field of management studies and organisational behaviour, helped formalise and popularise the concept. Since then, the SMART Goals framework has been widely adopted across various disciplines and contexts, from corporate management to education and personal development.
We have explored SMART Goals previously in the following posts:
Trevor O'Sullivan

Trevor O'Sullivan

General Manager. Since the early 2000s, Trevor has worked with thousands of Talent Management professionals to develop and apply assessment-based talent management solutions for selecting, developing and managing people. Trevor is an active member of the TTI Success Insights (TTISI) Global Advisory Council, contributes to TTISI product development and is a regular presenter at TTISI-R3. He is honoured to have received multiple Blue Diamond Awards and, more recently, the Bill Brooks Impact Award recognising his contributions to the TTISI global network.

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