Academic Staff Smart Goals

Smart goals are

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action Oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time – Bound

 Specific – State exactly what will be accomplished by when, for whom. A specific goal states what you are going to do, why it is important to do, and how it will be accomplished.

Example: A vague or general goal might be “To improve my health, I'm going to get in shape.” A specific statement of that goal would be “To improve my health, I'm going to join a fitness club and work out three days per week, an hour each time, for twelve weeks.”

Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress towards the attainment of each goal. This allows monitoring of progress, and course correction when needed.

Example: The measurable parts of the specific example above are underlined. “To improve my health, I'm going to join a fitness club and work out three days per week, an hour each time, for twelve weeks .”

Action Oriented – Identify exactly what will be done by using action verbs. Some useful verbs might be assemble, conduct, deliver, formulate, inspect, locate, operate, produce, recommend, supply, utilize.

Example: The action parts of the example are underlined. “To improve my health, I'm going to join a fitness club and work out three days per week, an hour each time, for twelve weeks.

Realistic – The goal should be “do-able” within the availability of resources, knowledge and time. The project should also fit within the overall strategy of the organization (reality check). A big goal can be easier to reach than a small one, because the larger goal exerts more motivational force. What is a realistic goal for one individual may be unrealistic for another, when various constraints are factored in: skills and knowledge of the person, work setting, work context for the goal, various forces that may be present.

Example: The goal “To improve my health, I'm going to join a fitness club and work out three days per week, an hour each time, for twelve weeks” might be a realistic goal for someone who is twenty pounds overweight but an unrealistic (an even dangerous one) for someone 150 pounds overweight.

Time-Bound – Identify a realistic timeframe for completing the goal. This creates a target to shoot for, and allows the creation of a timeline with starting points, ending points, and fixed durations that can be used to maintain focus and assess progress.

Example: The timeframe of the example is underlined. “To improve my health, I'm going to join a fitness club and work out three days per week, an hour each time, for twelve weeks .”

Examples of Work-Related SMART Goals

  • Update the classified employee handbook and redistribute it to all classified employees with a sign-off sheet before the end of the third quarter, 2007. Prepare an electronic version of the handbook, and post it on the Web at the same time the print version is released. Determine appropriate search capability for the electronic version. Establish a timeline for this project before the end of February, 2007.
  • Minimize rework and missed deadlines by developing and delivering a training session with all Dean's assistants prior to the end of second quarter, 2007. Explain differences, and then demonstrate the forms and procedures used in contracting, overloads and summer appointments.
  • Meet or exceed the 90% participation rate from 2006 in each of the campus intramural activities throughout the year
  • Monitor, develop and implement strategies to decrease the number of forfeits by 10% in each intramural activity during 2007.

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