Goal setting is the first step to success in every aspect of your life. However, very few people can truly accomplish that goal without the right skills and methods. To help you, there is a method called SMART goals.

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Here’s how the SMART principle works with VNOKRs, plus some tips and examples to help you set goals effectively!

Table of contents

1. What are SMART goals

? Components of SMART2. Why use the SMART principle?3. A 5-step guide to setting SMART4 goals. Best example of SMART5 method. Some notes to know when using the SMART model

1. What are SMART goals?


SMART goals are a system of criteria and rules that help you define and set effective goals. SMART stands for Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Relevant – Time bound.

In November 1981, George T. Doran first used the concept of SMART goals in Management Magazine. Next, Professor Robert S. Rubin (Saint Louis University) wrote about SMART and published it through the press.

In 2003, Paul J. Meyer, an entrepreneur and founder of Success Motivation International, described the characteristics of the SMART tool in his book: “Attitude is everything.”

SMART goals (Smart Goal or Smart Objective) include 5 core elements and formulas.

Components of SMART

SMART goals are an abbreviation of the words S, M, A, R, T. Specifically as follows:

S – Specific

The objectives set out must be specific, clear, unambiguous, and not confusing.

You can visualize this particular element as a well-defined point on the map. When you open Google map, you enter a specific, clear address and the application will help you show a route to your destination.

S – Specific, so is the specificity of SMART goals. And, only when you have clear, specific goals will your employees’ performance increase. We cannot strive to work with high performance if the work goals are very vague, difficult to understand.

To determine specific, appropriate goals, you can ask questions like:

What do I want to achieve? What is the desired outcome? Why is this goal important? Who is involved? What resources or limitations are involved? When should the goal be achieved?

M – Measurable

Have you ever encountered a situation of confusion every time it was time to review the salary increase for employees? Maybe the company’s profit and revenue results are not really good, but looking at the reports and evaluations of employees, everyone has achieved high performance and deserves a salary increase. It happens because the work goals lack measureability.

For example, your content creation staff writes 5 standard SEO articles a week for the website. Is that number 5 more or less, has it reached the standard yet? All metrics and achieved results need to be measured to help evaluate effectiveness.

SMART goals also need to be measurable. Only with the right measurement can we evaluate the performance of the correct goal.

You can ask questions to help define metrics such as:

How much is accomplished? How will I know when the goal is completed? What threshold of results is met?

A – Achievable (Feasibility)

Feasibility, doable, doable is a factor your employees are very interested in.

If you’re an office worker and haven’t exercised in years, the 5km run is a challenge, but achievable if you try. However, if the target distance for a beginner is 42km, it is an impossible challenge. Running the 42km Marathon with a beginner runner only increases the likelihood of injury and prolonged downtime.

Feasibility here needs to be considered from both the perspective of company resources as well as the potential, professional capacity, and experience of employees. We need to delegate the right work that can be done to the right people at the right time.

You can set more difficult, challenging goals for your employees to help them grow more. But, that challenge still needs to be within doable range.

We can ask questions to consider the feasibility of the goal such as:

How can the team accomplish this goal? To what extent is the goal realistic? Does the company have enough resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? What is the company lacking to achieve the goal? target? Have companies of a similar size done this successfully before?

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R – Relevant

During the development and operation of a company, we can set many different goals:

Department goals: Sales, Human Resources, Communication… Personal goals: Leaders, middle managers, employees…

However, all goals set forth in any field or level need to be linked. Specifically, here are the goals that are aligned, towards the common goal of the whole company.

For example, if the company-wide goal at the end of 2020 is to focus on the domestic market, correspondingly the goals of all departments, divisions and employees need to work towards this common goal:

Sales Department focuses on introducing and approaching domestic target customers. The marketing department focuses on creating messages aimed at domestic customers. Even, due to the epidemic situation, the ability to export products is difficult, the staff in charge of the export segment can be transferred to support the domestic product distribution segment…

Questions to help you determine goal relevance include:

Is the goal worth the effort? Is this the right time to accomplish the goal? Are the goals in line with the company’s efforts and needs? Is the target relevant to the current market situation?

T – Time-Bound (Time-Bound)

Maybe you just wrote an email to your employee. At the end of the email, you must have clearly noted how much the work needs to be completed before the date. That is the time-limiting element of SMART goals.

We need time limits to optimize employee performance; increase revenue and profit for the company; seize opportunities… Limiting time also helps increase employee commitment and responsibility when achieving goals. A right goal, the person who does it right but always delays the completion time, the results are often no longer needed.

You can ask questions to determine the time limit of your goal, such as:

How long can your employees accomplish this goal? Can they speed things up? When do I need to complete the goal? What can I do to accomplish the goal in 6 months, next quarter, next month, next week or tomorrow?

2. Why should you use the SMART principle?

Here are 7 outstanding benefits of SMART to help you develop your capacity and achieve maximum efficiency at work:

2.1. Concretize your goals

When entering a new working quarter, businesses are often “excited” with ambitious goals, but many times the set goals are vague and difficult to implement in reality.

The SMART principle can help you concretize your goals, measure and evaluate them. When you apply the 5 elements of SMART, your goal will gradually appear as a clear, specific picture.

2.2. Simple, easy to do

SMART is really simple, easy to implement and can be applied to many different company cases. Whether your company has tens of thousands of employees or is modest with just a few dozen employees, SMART can be applied.

SMART is focused on helping you build, set, and accurately measure your goals. SMART’s five criteria include: “Specific – Measurable – Feasibility – Relevance – Time-limited” as clear guiding milestones to help you define goals for the company in the right direction.

2.3. Employees are more focused and productive

With SMART, your employees will be more focused and more productive. Goals are the key to the overall success of your organization and SMART helps you find the right key faster for your problem.

Your employees will work towards, achieving more specific, clear goals. Their work results are measured and evaluated accurately. They can connect work and understand that what they are doing is contributing to the overall success of the organization. Their work has a time limit, although it creates a sense of pressure, it also helps them achieve better work performance.

In fact, many businesses want to achieve better performance and work results by making their employees work longer hours. They will appreciate people who stay in the office until 7, 8, even 9 pm:

However, is continuous overtime (OT) a good thing for employees and for your company? Work-life balance is key to keeping your employees happy. . Reasonable rest time also helps employees regenerate energy, creativity to work more effectively the next day.

The key to increasing productivity is increasing employee focus on goals. When there is focus, employees will be more productive, even if they only work for the allotted time or even less.

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With SMART, you can help your employees work smarter instead of working longer hours.

Is SMART really necessary for your business?

2.4. Determine the relevance and accuracy of the goal

Amidst the chaos of things to do for the company, are you feeling overwhelmed because you don’t know what to prioritize? SMART can help you determine the relevance, accuracy, and prioritization of your goals. See also: What is Rufus – How to Create the Easiest Boot Usb

Through the criteria of SMART, first of all, you will eliminate the goals that are not suitable for the development of the company. Next, you increase your precise goal setting: Right job, right person, right time.

On the other hand, SMART goals always have an element of time limitation. Therefore, you can arrange and prioritize jobs with more urgent and necessary deadlines.

2.5 Improve goal measurement

The goal is set and seems to have been accomplished. Many times you are also vague about whether your employees have actually completed the set goals or not. SMART can help you improve your ability to measure goals.

Right from goal setting, SMART has emphasized the measurement factor. What results do your employees need to achieve? At what threshold do they need to complete? What results are considered satisfactory? All of these questions have been addressed since setting goals with SMART.

2.6. “Open source” – no cost

SMART is an “open source” goal management model. That means your company can apply SMART without having to ask for permission or certification from anyone, from any organization. You will also not have to spend any money when applying SMART to your company.

2.7. Towards company-wide goals

The relevant element of SMART helps your company, even though there are many goals, these goals are also directed, resonate to help the company achieve the common goal.

All goals, whether in the field, department or at any level, need to be examined and considered relevant to the company’s goals in the short, medium and long term. Relevancy acts as a cohesive thread that empowers your company to accomplish big, difficult goals as a whole, not with discrete, disjointed efforts.

3. A 5-step guide to setting SMART goals

Step 1: Set goals with specific words

“Doing a good job” is not a goal set with specific words. Instead, you can set up goals like:

“Write standard SEO content, on time, according to outline”

“Well done” is a very vague phrase. How, at what level is a good threshold? You avoid leading to ambiguity in goal implementation by setting SMART goals first with very specific, clear, and non-confusing language.

Step 2: Align goals with measurable factors

SMART goals need to be associated with measurable elements. In fact, only when you can measure it, you can accurately assess how progress you are in achieving your goals.

Following the example above, we can add a measurement element to clarify the goal as follows:

“Write at least 6 standard SEO articles, on time, according to the outline”

Step 3: Aim for realistic goals

The mistake often made when setting goals is to set the number too little or too much, the challenge too low or too high. When the goal is too little challenge, your employees are easy to achieve and in the long run will not help them make any progress in their work or professional skills. When the goal is too challenging, unattainable, you will only make your employees frustrated, work to cope, even give up and can’t find a way out in too stressful work.

The practical element here needs to be considered through previous work history. In the past, your staff used to write 1 standard SEO article per day. In case of urgency, they can focus and write 3 SEO articles in 2 days. So, the threshold of 6 standard SEO articles per week is neither too little nor too challenging and achievable.

A well-placed goal, with the right person, at the right time will inspire strong progress. The important thing here is that you need to set realistic goals.

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Step 4: Determine the relevance of the goal

Your company is looking to increase keyword search rankings to the top 5 on Google search page. So the goal of increasing the number of standard SEO articles is related to the overall goal of the company.

When setting goals for your employees, you should regularly examine whether those goals are helping to accomplish company-wide goals.

So we will have the following goal:

“Write at least 6 standard SEO articles, on time, in accordance with the outline to increase the ranking of the company website with the keyword “HR software” to the top 5 Google search pages.

Step 5: Set a goal within a specific time frame

You need to set SMART goals within a specific time frame. This deadline element will help your employees complete their work with greater responsibility and progress. Deadline is also a sufficient pressure for employees to increase work performance. On the other hand, deadlines contribute to a stabilizing factor in employee performance.

When tied to a specific time frame factor, our SMART goals are as follows:

“Write at least 6 standard SEO articles, on time, according to the outline every week, in order to increase the ranking of the company website with the keyword “HR software” up. top 5 Google search sites.”

We can set SMART goals through 5 steps corresponding to the 5 elements of this model.

4. SMART Methodology Best Example

SMART can be applied a lot for setting goals of companies, for work and even for personal goals.

5. Some notes to know when using SMART model

Although the SMART model is simple and easy to use, you also need to be careful to avoid setting inappropriate goals.

5.1. Ensure the flexibility factor of the goal

Goals set from the SMART model will be aligned with company-wide goals. The problem is that your company-wide goals are usually pretty stable over a 1-year period. Usually companies will summarize the old year, look back on the problems and set goals for the next year. The SMART model can therefore lead to goals with limited flexibility.

As the situation changes, you need to rethink how it affects your company-wide goals. If necessary, be flexible, quickly adapt, and adjust the goals set with SMART.


Before the epidemic, your company-wide goal was to focus on exporting to the US and European markets. When the epidemic occurs, and exports face many difficulties, you need to quickly adjust your target, which may be to focus on the domestic market.

Goals set with SMART will also re-adjust to the new overall goal.

5.2. Determine the right time frame

When you set a goal but don’t have the right time frame for it, the goal can get distracted or even go astray.

Instead of saying, “This year, we are going to launch a big campaign!”

We could say: “During the first quarter, we will focus on software development to launch a large-scale promotional campaign in the second quarter.”

Appropriately defined time periods also help you to see and evaluate more specifically and accurately the results the team has achieved. Let’s avoid the mistake of going too far by regularly monitoring and adjusting our efforts at specific time intervals.

5.3. Consult staff

The SMART model is about setting achievable, achievable goals.

To ensure this factor, in addition to reviewing the history of the job completion process, you should consult, dialogue, and listen to opinions from your employees. When employees have a say in setting goals, they will also increase their commitment and efforts to accomplish goals.


Through the above analysis, we have understood what is SMART goal? Why use SMART? The same 5 steps to setting SMART goals, specific examples and identifying notes when using the SMART model.

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In general, SMART is simple, easy to use and can be immediately applied to corporate governance of various company models, regardless of large, medium or small sized companies. You can also immediately apply SMART to your personal development goals.

Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound are all important indicators for you to set more accurate, more effective goals. VNOKRs wishes you to always set and achieve effective goals with SMART!