These smart goals examples are provided to help you to refine your own approach to setting smart goals. Smart goal setting is one of the most enduring techniques and are found in most basic management textbooks. Its simplicity is deceptive as it is truly one of the most powerful techniques. I use it every time I interact with clients and students in management. Management is about making decisions, and any decision you make becomes a goal. You cannot go through life without making decisions. Smart goals are explained in the article on SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). Here I only focus on smart goals examples.


Goal: We want to increase our profit for next year.

  • Specific – yes, it states profit
  • Measurable – NO! Making one dollar more would meet this lame-duck goal. State a number.
  • Attainable – 1 dollar – of course. A couple of million if I make $50,000 at the moment? – probably not.
  • Relevant – seems so, if the purpose is higher efficiency and profitability.
  • Time bound – yes, but it can be improved by stating an exact date.
  • How to improve this goal: “We will increase our profit from $50,000 to $70,000 (for the year ending 31 March 2013)”.

Setting SMART goals is not really difficult. It is a matter of getting into the habit of making sure every goal you set adheres to the SMART principles.


Goal: “We will improve our customer service in order to increase our sales”

  • Specific – yes, but this can be confusing. Is the goal better service or increased sales? Split it up into two goals.
  • Measurable – NO! No number! I can smile twice more and call it better service. Increased sales? No numbers!
  • Attainable – No idea since no measures are provided.
  • Relevent – Could be, if the purpose is happier customers and higher sales.
  • Time bound – no, if I take 10 years would that be acceptable?

In this case it would be better to separate the goals into 1. Customer service and 2. Sales.

  1. Customer-focused: “We will improve our customer service by taking orders within 2 minutes and delivering the food within 10 minutes after orders are taken. We will achieve this within 3 months, by …..” This is now much more specific, measurable, hopefully attainable, relevant to a restaurant as it focuses on customer satisfaction, with a clear time limit. This type of goal could be broken into even more focused goals by focusing on different aspects of service – smiling, making recommendations, cleaning tables etc.
  2. Sales focused: “We will increase our sales in the next 3 months from a weekly average of $35,000 to an average of $42,000, within the next 3 months (i.e. by …)”

Separating the two goals now enables one to clearly focus on why they were or were not attained. Obviously better service should translate into higher sales, but many other aspects could be included?


I will keep this very short, since you have the idea by now.

Goal: “I will improve my education to make myself more valuable to my company and thereby reduce the risk of losing my job”

  • Why not separate 1. Education, 2. Making yourself valuable and 3. Reducing the risk of losing your job into 3 distinct goals? Now you can focus on how to attain each. Of course you will consider how they support one another. Why separate them? So that you can plan in a focused manner. What steps do you need to take to get better educated? What steps to become more valuable? What steps to reduce the risk of losing your job?

I suspect you know this intuitively. I hope these smart goals examples have helped to clarify your thoughts about how to set smart goals. Best of luck and happy goal setting.

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