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SMART Goals is based on the acronym that stands Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound. Following this acronym is a great way to construct clearly-defined goals that matter to an organization. Expanding on each element:

  • Specific: “Reduce lead time in minutes” as opposed to “Improve productivity”
  • Measurable: “Reduce lead time to 2 minutes” as opposed to “Double productivity”
  • Attainable: “Cut defects from 30% down to 15%” as opposed to “Reduce defects to zero”
  • Relevant: “Reduce customer complaints by 20%” as opposed to “Increase holiday party effectiveness”
  • Timebound: “Increase application completion rate by 50% by end Q2″—include a “by when” date

There are many good guideline for goal creation, but following the SMART acronym covers 5 critical goal attributes.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Master Black Belt at GoLeanSixSigma.com, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 30 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Marriott International, Inc. build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.
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