Are we scared of SMART?

There may be a new trend emerging – fear of SMART. That’s SMART as in Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-framed.

In my work I help to develop, assess and implement plans and strategies. These can be business plans, marketing strategies, sales plans, PR programs, integrated communication plans, and so on and so on. While many of these plans are created by smart people and feature smart tactics, more often they are lacking SMART objectives.

Are people becoming scared of SMART? Could it be that we have so much on our plates that being accountable for specific objectives with deadlines is something we’re avoiding?

Unfortunately, not being SMART has serious drawbacks. Without SMART objectives, we don’t know whether we are advancing our organization’s priorities because we can’t assess our progress. Which means that we don’t know if our hard work is actually achieving something – because we really don’t know what success is.

 SMART objectives enable us to define success:

  • Specific – they specify the outcomes we intend to achieve
  • Measurable – they quantify or define the criteria for achieving success
  • Achievable – they have a real likelihood of success
  • Relevant – they are consistent with the organization’s needs and priorities
  • Time-framed – they include time limits specifying when these objectives will be achieved

Can we replace fear with action?

Let’s make a commitment to let go of fear and act on smartening up our organizations by including SMART objectives in all of our plans and strategies!


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