SMART Goals and Strategy Templates

business planning Dec 04, 2017

Martin Riley - Business Coach - The Business Jet Engine

In our last blog post, Planning for Success we looked at the Power of 3s; setting just three priorities for the year ahead. To achieve these, so they don’t just remain a wish, you need make them specific - by thinking them through in detail.

The Value of Thinking Things Through

This helps you to:

  • Evaluate the benefits of a project. Is it really worthwhile this year?
  • Prevent costly mistakes that could have been avoided
  • Pre-empt issues and save time by planning ahead
  • Consider the true extent, and boundaries, of your project
  • Ensure the right people are involved

To help define these details we use 2 simple tools; SMART Goals and Strategy Templates.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific – a clearly defined area for improvement
  • Measurable – an agreed indicator of progress
  • Assignable – a person made accountable
  • Realistic – can be achieved with the agreed resources
  • Time-related – linked to agreed timescales

Why do you need smart goals?

Have you ever said to yourself, ‘I am going to get fit this year’? And if so, did you succeed? Approximately 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions to get fit drop off by the second week of February. Gyms typically sell memberships with the expectation that a mere 18% of people will use them throughout the year.

Why do so many people fail? Because they did not actually set a goal. What they did was make a wish. Their wish was just a vague notion of what they wanted, with few or no specifics. A SMART goal creates actions that will be measurable, so that it becomes clear whether you are succeeding or failing.

A specific goal about getting fit might include measures of losing X amount of weight, or being able to increase a running distance by Y. It might specify going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for Z hours training time, with the allocated exercises and performance targets on each day.

A SMART goal reminds you of exactly what you need to do, and allows you to measure if you have achieved it

The art of effective planning is to consider the most pertinent facts; to clarify your own thinking and to engage your team. You need to be thorough, but avoid creating confusion or mental overload to ensure you think clearly.

These questions highlight mission critical information required for most projects:


  • What is it?
  • The central idea, physical object, the objective.


  • Why is this important?
  • What is your reason for being interested or involved.


  • How will you do it?
  • What is your method of making this work?


  • Who should be involved?
  • Who are the key people to enrol for this to work, internally and externally?


  • Where will this take place?
  • Where are the boundaries or limits of your project, by geographic location, product lines, departments, clients, markets, demographics etc?


  • When do key events need to happen?
  • What dates do you need to work to and which are mission critical?

How Much:

  • To what degree should we do this?
  • How much will you be putting in?
  • What are the quantities involved in whatever units are the most relevant; be it people, time, money, products, services.

At What Cost:

  • What will this cost you or gain you?
  • What resources will be required; money, time, energy, emotions, relationships, and what will you gain in return?
  • Is it worth it?

At What Risk

  • What are the greatest risks involved?
  • What do you risk most if you do this, or don’t do this? 
  • What do you risk if you fail or if you succeed?

We use these questions in a strategy template to get greater clarity on the overall picture of our objectives. It ensures that we have all the relevant information in one place and helps to clarify thinking and decision making during the project/task.

You can get this template as a free .pdf download from our website.

Martin Riley - The Business Jet Engine


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