Are they really SMART? Boost Your Team’s Productivity with Skillful SMART Goals

Picture of Patrice Barber

Patrice Barber

Patrice Barber, CEO of Career CNX and National Speaker

Do SMART goals really equate to greater productivity? 

Yes – if you and your team know how!

Remember, individuals are 42% more likely to achieve goals when they are physically recorded.

Let’s review.

The definition of SMART goals is

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Results-based
  • Time specific

But are your goals really SMART?

As leaders, our objectives are often passed down to us – sometimes we have input, and sometimes not. It’s our job to take those objectives and help the team develop goals that support the objectives.

That’s where the SMART goals come in.

Let’s connect the dots….

Be Specific

Specific goals are important for the entire team. Get input from the entire team on these goals. 

Using the company objectives as a guideline 

Increase revenue from new customers by 20% for the fiscal year.

An example of a specific goal 

I commit to researching 5 new potential customers per week for the first quarter.

Can your team pledge to meet this goal? Work on developing specific goals that the entire team can work toward. 

If your team met its first-quarter goal – how would that affect the revenue from new customers?

Be Measurable

This team goal is also measurable. You must be able to measure your success in order to understand your productivity change. 

…5 new potential customers …

Working with your team, be sure that the team members involved have the time allocated to research 5 new potential customers. Often as leaders, we pile on additional items without giving enough guidance about prioritization of key objectives and results. By writing these out and having the full team including leadership agree to the prioritization of these specific goals and objectives above other tasks that creep into our weekly to-do list, we empower our team members to keep us all accountable to the agreed to results. 

There may be some additional areas of clarification as well. Maybe each team member has a specific industry to focus on. 

A goal for a specific team member might be 

I commit to researching 5 new potential customers in the healthcare space for the first quarter.

Make it Attainable

Using results-based language is imperative if you’re going to get the desired results faster and with less effort. Our current goal is 

I commit to researching 5 new potential customers in the health care space for the first quarter.

Be Results-Oriented and Timely

To make this goal more results-orientated, perhaps we change it to

I commit to researching 5 new potential customers, presenting to 3 new customers, and closing 1 new deal in the healthcare space per week for the first quarter.

The new goal is everything a SMART goal needs to be: It’s specific, measurable, attainable, results-orientated, and timely. It also ties back to the original objective of answering the question: How will I have an impact on my company’s top line?

We know exactly what the task is, how long it takes, and what the end result needs to be. 

Understanding a bit more about time management can help.

Increase Productivity

Now that we know what a SMART goal can look like, let’s talk a bit about how to increase productivity over that first quarter.

Using the goals you and your team have set, develop an easy-tracking framework so everyone knows where each team member stands on achieving the goal. For most organizations, daily tracking by the individual and weekly discussion to check in on wins, next goals, and challenges or blocks works well. Sales goals, like many other goals, are best tracked online digitally with roll up reporting to show each day’s prospects rolled up for the week and shared with the team. 

Create a consistent time and a standard meeting framework for strategy sessions where the team can come together and discuss challenges and make recommendations. Allowing the team to help develop solutions and actions to resolve challenges increases engagement and allows team members to know their ideas count, their opinions do matter, and they are not just a cog in a wheel but truly a part of the resolution.

Increasing productivity is tied to great objectives. North Star objectives are an integral part of the Career CNX method. The Career CNX app is one platform that facilitates sessions with team members, including tracking goals, wins and challenges over time.

Engage the Team

Ensure that the entire team is aware of the goals, and that they have agreed that these goals are attainable for them. 

A successful strategy to increase team productivity is to understand and embrace each team member’s personal goals. As a leader, learning about the holistic goals of individuals on your team informs you of the probability of success with company goals. You may discover you need to support specific team members in unique ways to meet their business goals.  These non-company goals can include participation in volunteer activities, learning a new skill, a commitment to health or family time.  The idea that people should leave their personal lives at home is unrealistic. Cutting the conversation short about personal goals often sabotages productivity at work.  

By encouraging team members to have full lives outside of the organization and intentionally setting time to discuss holistic goals, leaders acknowledge your commitment to their team members, building greater rapport and trust with your team. 85% of people believe that trust is a critical component of a high-performing team.

Building trust within your team increases engagement and increases productivity. 

People want to work for a company that believes in them, actively shows they care about them.  Productivity has been shown is numerous studies over more than 2 decades to increase when team members feel engaged and respected.

According to a recent  Gallup survey, “Compared with disengaged teams, engaged teams show 24% to 59% less turnover, 10% higher customer ratings, 21% greater profitability, 17% higher productivity, 28% less shrinkage, 70% fewer safety incidents, and 41% less absenteeism.”

Being very clear about the outcomes expected of the team using SMART goals, and periodic check-ins of people and tasks are the keys to increasing productivity.

Having an easy way to manage the objectives and goals for each team member increases engagement and helps to monitor outcomes. The Career CNX app is an excellent tool for empowering leaders and team members to know their goals and keep track of the outcomes through its Career Goals module. Track not only professional and company goals, but personal goals as well.

Get the free Career CNX app.

Free Guide

6 Steps to Take Control of Your Career

The Modern Guide to Career Evolution

Get Support

Support Request
If you have a file or screenshot of the issue you're experiencing, please upload it here:

Maximum file size: 268.44MB