SMART objectives will help you prioritise work, monitor progress and celebrate achievements.

Keeping things SMART helps focus on what’s important and what needs to be done. It makes achieving objectives real and put the possibility within everyone’s grasp.

Make each priority into a concise statement and run it through the SMART test.

Make sure that everyone’s objectives align with your business plan.

Follow these steps for setting SMART objectives:

For each objective ask yourself whether it is:

  • Specific. Will everyone be able to understand it? A vague objective often leads to poor results.
  • Measurable. Clear targets allow you to measure whether you are making the progress you expect or have anticipated.
  • Agreed, attainable and achievable. Objectives must be agreed so your people can own them. They should be attainable and achievable by the person you have asked to meet the objective.
  • Realistic and resourced. Given your resources and the current climate, is your objective realistic? Do you have the resources (the time, money and tools) to make it happen?
  • Time-bound. You must set a clear timeframe for objectives so the people working on the objective are clear when it has to be achieved.

An objective will only be useful if it passes the SMART test. If it doesn’t pass, change it until it does.

An example of a SMART objective may be:

Increase total sales for the practice by 3% for the following financial year ending 31 December 2018.

After you’ve produced your objectives, give them the common-sense check and make sure they fit together to form a unified strategy within your business plan.

Once you’ve agreed the SMART objectives, put them in a format that makes it easy to review and update.