[Editor’s Note: Even experienced PR professionals need a refresher on the basics periodically, as well as insight about newer concepts. Whether it’s how to become a better writer or a review of PR ethics, we aim to provide you with content about a variety of topics and issues. Hence, our Explainer series.]
What are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?
The S.M.A.R.T. Goal philosophy debuted in the Nov. 1981 issue of Management Review. George Doran, a consultant and former director of planning for the Washington Water Power Company, published an article titled “There's a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management's Goals and Objectives."
S.M.A.R.T. goals provide criteria for efficient goal-setting and evaluating results. There are applications in various practices and industries, including communication and project management.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
Specific: target a specific area for improvement
Measurable: quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
Assignable: specify who will do it
Realistic: state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
Time-Related: specify when the result(s) can be achieved
Why it Matters to Communicators
Although most communicators have likely created 2023 plans for those they represent, the S.M.A.R.T. system can be used anytime you draft a plan. The steps can make planning more efficient, especially if multiple team members or departments are involved. S.M.A.R.T. also is used in crisis situations—particularly when a group of people needs to be organized quickly to shape results.
In addition, the S.M.A.R.T. philosophy can be applied to personal and career goals, something many professionals have done or look to do at various points during the year.
More resources for goal setting and strategy:
- Aligning PR With Business Goals to Grab Mindshare and Larger Budgets
- How to Build a Dashboard to Reflect Business Goals
- Public Goals and Regular Updates Provide Higher Accountability for Promises of Inclusivity
- 4 Social Listening Tips to Make Sure You Set the Right Goals
- KPI Cheat Sheet for 4 Specific Brand Goals
- How to Craft a Communications Dashboard Tied to Organizational Goals
Nicole Schuman is senior editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal