54 professional SMART goals examples for work

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Sometimes business and sport are like two peas in a pod. Everyone works together to achieve a common goal, but when those goals aren’t clearly defined, things can get murky. That’s where the SMART framework comes in handy. It’s a simple system that helps teams streamline the goal-setting process by providing guidelines around how objectives should be written. And, with better goals, teams can achieve better results faster.

But what exactly is a SMART goal? And what are some examples of SMART goals? Don't worry, we've got you covered. In this post you’ll find everything you need to know about the SMART framework with examples that can be used within your organisation.

What are SMART goals?

Definition of SMART

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The SMART methodology is a bit like a checklist that helps you make sure that you’re writing goals that are useful and actionable. You can think of it as a set of questions that you should consider when drafting your objectives. By following these five criteria, you can increase your chances of success and make real progress towards your goals.

By incorporating these elements into their goal-setting process, stakeholders can enhance their clarity, focus, and likelihood of success. Whether in personal development, business strategy, or project management, SMART goals serve as a powerful tool for driving progress, fostering productivity, and realizing desired outcomes in a structured and systematic manner.


There’s an extension of the SMART method that adds Evaluated and Revised to the list. This forms the model for SMARTER goals that are meant to acknowledge the need for continuous improvement and flexibility.

In this post, we’ll keep things simple to focus on the goal-setting part. The ER component of SMARTER is more about the way you work than the type of goals that you have.

Let’s dive into each part of the SMART framework to understand what it means in practice.

The 5 SMART goals questions to ask

We use the SMART goal method to help us craft great goals. Again, SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. We can frame questions around these 5 attributes so you have a way to ensure that your goals are good, realistic goals.

Is my goal Specific?

A good goal needs to be specific. It would be great if we could simplify our go-to-market strategy by saying that you want to “dominate the market”, but this is hardly actionable by your team. You might end up with Marketing thinking that share of voice is the priority, while Sales is trying to make a dent in an untapped European market.

Nope – it’s best to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve.

Setting boundaries around the goal will help people understand how to best deliver value. So, instead of saying “let’s dominate the market” you can have a more specific goal like “Increase new sales in APAC by 15% month-over-month”. Now you’ve got everybody on the same page:

  • We’re sticking to APAC
  • We’re focusing on new sales
  • We want 15% MoM growth

Beware of being too prescriptive. A good goal makes the destination clear, but it’s up to the team to figure out the best way to get there.

Is my goal Measurable?

In order to make a goal SMART, we need to make sure it's measurable. If you can't track your progress or celebrate any milestones, then it's not really a goal. A measurable goal should have specific metrics or KPIs that can be easily tracked and evaluated.

For instance, instead of saying you want to "improve customer satisfaction," you could set a goal to "increase customer satisfaction score from 75% to 90% or higher on weekly surveys." Making your goals measurable will allow your team to monitor progress and understand if their bets are paying off.

This is also why you want to avoid binary outcomes. For instance, one could argue that “ship the new onboarding flow” is measurable – but is it really? Unless you have clear milestones, the answer to the question “is it done yet?” will be “no”, and then suddenly “yes”. Hardly something that you can use to make decisions.

A better approach would be to ask why the new onboarding flow is important, and what kind of impact we’re expecting. For instance the corresponding measurable goal could be to “increase activation rate from 12% to 21%”.

Is my goal Attainable?

The third thing to keep in mind while setting a SMART goal is that it should be attainable. You should aim to set goals that push your team's limits, but at the same time, they should be achievable. Going for overly ambitious or unrealistic goals could leave you and your team feeling frustrated, demotivated, and eventually lead to failure. To determine if a goal is attainable, you need to consider the available resources, time constraints, and the current skill level of your team.

If your team has been scoring an average of 10 points per game, setting a goal to score 20 points per game might be unrealistic. Instead, focus on achievable goals, like increasing the average score by 2-3 points per game, and gradually work towards more ambitious targets as your team's performance improves.

Is my goal Relevant?

When you set goals, it's important to think about the bigger picture and make sure they align with your organisation's overall mission and strategy. The fourth element of a SMART goal is being relevant. You should ask yourself, "Why am I setting this goal?" and "Will it help our current strategy in the long run?" If you set goals that are not relevant to your business, you might end up wasting your time and resources, and they won't help you achieve the desired outcomes.

For instance, if your company is mainly focused on increasing its customer base, then setting a goal to reduce operational costs might not be the most relevant objective. Instead, prioritise goals that directly support customer acquisition and retention efforts.

Is my goal Time-bound?

When you set goals, you need to make sure they're time-bound. That means setting a clear start and end date so you can keep track of your progress and stay motivated. Without a deadline, it's easy to get sidetracked and forget about your goals. When setting a Time-bound goal, make sure you give yourself a realistic timeframe to achieve it.

For example, instead of saying "I'm going to launch a new product," you could say "I'm going to launch a new product by the end of Q3, with a beta version ready for testing by the end of Q2." By setting deadlines for yourself, you give yourself a clear plan of action and make yourself accountable, which helps you stay focused and motivated.

A simple SMART template to write better goals

It might be a bit boring to write every goal the same way, but there’s a simple template that you can follow to write goals using the SMART approach.

Improve <metric> from <current value> to <improved value> by <date>

Here, “improve” can be about increasing or decreasing the value of something depending on the context. Here are different examples:

  • For a SaaS startup: increase MRR from $250k to $290k by they end of the quarter
  • For a Marketing team: reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) from $235/lead to $160/lead by the end of the quarter

What are some examples of SMART goals for work?

Now that you understand the ins and outs of SMART goals for work, here are some SMART goals examples to set you off on the right foot. For each category, we’ve outlined 3 different examples of SMART goals that are suitable for a work environment.

It’ll be easy to see how these goals are specific, measurable, and time-bound by reading each statement. With regards to the attainable and relevant aspects, this will of course depend on your situation (but let’s assume that it works in the context of the examples!).

SMART goals examples for business

  • Market expansion: Expand into two new regional markets within the next 12 months by conducting market research and establishing local partnerships.
  • Product development: Launch three new products in the next 18 months, focusing on research and development, market testing, and engaging with early adopter feedback for continuous improvement.
  • Employee engagement: Increase employee engagement scores by 15% over the next 6 months through targeted team-building activities, feedback mechanisms, and personalised development plans.

SMART goals examples for managers

  • Team productivity: Increase team productivity by 20% in the next quarter by implementing weekly check-ins and utilising productivity tracking tools.
  • Leadership development: Complete a leadership training course and mentor at least two team members in leadership skills within the next six months.
  • Project completion rate: Achieve a 95% on-time project completion rate over the next year by enhancing project management processes and improving communication channels.

SMART goals examples for leadership

  • Strategic partnerships: Forge three new strategic partnerships within the next nine months to expand market reach and enhance product offerings.
  • Organisational culture: Improve organisational culture to achieve a 90% positive feedback rate in employee satisfaction surveys by implementing monthly culture-building initiatives over the next year.
  • Innovation drive: Launch a company-wide innovation challenge to generate at least 10 viable new product ideas in the next six months, fostering a culture of creativity and innovation.

SMART goals examples for personal development

  • Skill enhancement: Complete an advanced online course in data analysis within the next three months to improve job performance and support career advancement.
  • Health and fitness: Increase physical activity to 10,000 steps per day and attend three gym sessions per week over the next six months to improve overall health and reduce stress.
  • Personal finance: Save an additional $5,000 by the end of the year through setting aside 10% of monthly income and reducing non-essential expenditures.

SMART goals examples for project managers

  • Risk management: Identify and mitigate 90% of project risks by conducting comprehensive risk assessments at the project's initiation and review stages over the next two months.
  • Stakeholder satisfaction: Achieve at least 85% stakeholder satisfaction by enhancing communication strategies and providing monthly project updates throughout the duration of the next project.
  • Budget adherence: Deliver the upcoming project within 98% of the allocated budget by implementing stricter financial controls and monthly budget reviews over the project's six-month timeline.

Examples of SMART goals for Sales

  • Revenue growth: Increase quarterly sales revenue by 15% over the next three months through targeted marketing campaigns and upselling strategies.
  • Client acquisition: Secure 20 new clients by the end of the next quarter by enhancing lead generation efforts and improving the sales conversion rate.
  • Sales efficiency: Reduce the sales cycle duration by 10% within the next six months by streamlining the sales process and enhancing sales team training.

Examples of SMART goals for Marketing

  • Brand awareness: Increase brand awareness by 25% in the next four months through a targeted social media campaign across key platforms.
  • Customer engagement: Boost customer engagement rates by 30% over the next quarter by implementing interactive content and regular feedback opportunities on our digital channels.
  • Market penetration: Achieve a 5% increase in market share within the next year by introducing two new product lines tailored to emerging market trends and customer needs.

Examples of SMART goals for Finance

  • Cost reduction: Decrease operational expenses by 10% over the next 12 months through process optimisation and renegotiating supplier contracts.
  • Revenue diversification: Generate 20% of total revenue from new financial products or services within the next 18 months to reduce dependency on traditional revenue streams.
  • Investment returns: Achieve a 15% return on investment for the new capital expenditure projects by the end of the financial year through strategic allocation and rigorous project evaluation.

SMART goals examples for Product

  • User experience improvement: Enhance the user experience of our flagship product, achieving a customer satisfaction score of 90% within the next six months through user feedback analysis and iterative design improvements.
  • Feature adoption: Increase product usage by 15% by addressing the top customer requests by the end of the next quarter.
  • Market adaptation: Adapt our core product to meet regulatory requirements in two new international markets within the next 12 months, facilitating a 20% increase in overseas sales.

SMART goals examples for software development

  • Release cycle reduction: Shorten the software release cycle by 20% within the next six months through adopting continuous integration and deployment practices.
  • Bug resolution: Decrease bug resolution time by 30% over the next quarter by enhancing the team's use of automated testing and bug tracking tools.
  • Code quality improvement: Improve code quality by reducing the defect rate by 40% in the next six months through stricter code review processes and automated testing.

SMART goals examples for Customer Success

  • NPS improvement: Increase Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 10 points within the next six months by enhancing response to customer feedback and improving service delivery.
  • Customer onboarding: Reduce new customer onboarding time by 25% over the next quarter through streamlined processes and better use of automation.
  • Renewal rate: Boost subscription renewal rate by 20% in the next year by implementing targeted engagement strategies and personalised follow-ups.

SMART goals examples for a mobile app

  • User acquisition: Increase monthly active users by 30% within the next six months through targeted social media advertising and app store optimisation.
  • Engagement rate: Improve daily user engagement by 20% over the next quarter by introducing new interactive features and personalised content recommendations.
  • Revenue growth: Boost in-app purchase revenue by 25% in the next nine months by refining pricing strategies and enhancing the value of premium features.

SMART goals examples for Quality Assurance

  • Defect reduction: Reduce critical defects by 50% in product releases over the next six months through enhanced testing protocols and automation.
  • Testing efficiency: Increase testing efficiency by 30% within the next quarter by implementing a more robust test automation framework.
  • Feedback loop improvement: Shorten the feedback loop between finding and fixing defects to 24 hours within the next three months by improving collaboration between the QA and development teams.

SMART goals examples for Customer Support

  • Response time reduction: Cut average customer support response time by 50% within the next three months through process optimisation and staff training.
  • Resolution rate improvement: Increase first-contact resolution rate to 80% over the next six months by enhancing knowledge base and support training.
  • Customer satisfaction boost: Achieve a customer satisfaction score of 90% in the next year by implementing a more personalised support approach and regular feedback collection.

SMART goals examples for SEO

  • Organic traffic increase: Boost organic search traffic by 25% within the next six months by optimising key landing pages and improving keyword rankings.
  • Backlink growth: Gain 100 quality backlinks over the next quarter by engaging in targeted content marketing and outreach strategies.
  • Keyword ranking improvement: Achieve top 5 rankings for 10 primary keywords in our industry within the next nine months through comprehensive SEO optimisation and content creation.

SMART goals examples for Social Media

  • Follower growth: Increase followers on our primary social media platform by 20% in the next three months through regular, engaging content and influencer collaborations.
  • Engagement rate increase: Boost the average engagement rate per post by 15% over the next six months by optimising posting times and leveraging user-generated content.
  • Conversion rate improvement: Improve the conversion rate from social media referrals to product sales by 10% within the next year by implementing targeted advertising and A/B testing landing pages.

SMART goals examples for E-Commerce

  • Sales growth: Increase monthly sales by 20% within the next six months through targeted digital marketing campaigns and website optimisation.
  • Cart abandonment reduction: Reduce shopping cart abandonment rate by 15% over the next quarter by streamlining the checkout process and introducing exit-intent offers.
  • Customer retention rate: Improve the customer retention rate by 10% in the next year by implementing a loyalty program and personalised email marketing strategies.

SMART goals examples for Email Marketing

  • Open rate improvement: Increase the email open rate by 15% over the next three months by A/B testing subject lines and sending emails at optimal times.
  • Click-through rate boost: Boost the click-through rate (CTR) from email campaigns by 10% within the next six months by refining email content and personalising calls to action.
  • Subscriber growth: Grow the email subscriber list by 25% in the next year through signup incentives on the website and social media promotions.

Work SMART goals for employees

  • Productivity increase: Raise individual productivity by 15% within the next quarter by automating repetitive tasks and prioritising daily objectives.
  • Skill development: Complete an accredited professional certification course in project management within the next six months to enhance project handling capabilities.
  • Performance review metrics: Achieve a 95% or higher on all performance review criteria by the end of the fiscal year through monthly self-evaluations and manager feedback sessions.

Using AI to generate an example of SMART goals

AI prompt field of Tability's free AI SMART goal generator

We tried to be thorough with the examples listed above, but it’s quite unlikely that these goals will match your current needs. Every business and team is different, and you might be facing some very specific challenges.

The good news is that you can also get a tailored set of SMART goals that correspond to your objective. Tability has built a free AI SMART goal generator that turns your objectives into a set of measurable goals in seconds – and include relevant action items.

How to combine work SMART goals with other goal-setting frameworks

Using SMART goals with KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to evaluate the success of an organisation, employee, or specific activity in achieving key objectives. When SMART goals are used in conjunction with KPIs, the combination provides a powerful mechanism for ensuring that goals are not only well-defined and achievable but also aligned with the broader performance metrics that matter most to the organisation.

Integration Steps:

  1. Define relevant KPIs: Start by identifying KPIs that are directly related to the specific SMART goals. These KPIs should measure outcomes that reflect progress towards the achievement of these goals.
  2. Set specific targets: For each KPI, use the SMART framework to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound targets. This transforms high-level KPIs into actionable targets that can be pursued with clear focus.
  3. Measure and Monitor: Regularly track progress against these targets, using the KPIs as a dashboard for performance. This allows for real-time adjustments and ensures that efforts are consistently aligned with the goal's objectives.

Example: If the SMART goal is to increase customer satisfaction by 20% within the next quarter, relevant KPIs might include customer satisfaction scores, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and customer retention rates. Setting specific targets for each of these KPIs ensures that the team’s efforts are measurable and directly contribute to the overarching goal.

Using SMART goals with OKRs

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a framework for setting and communicating goals and results within organisations. OKRs help teams and individuals to aim high, focus on what truly matters, and foster coordination and transparency. Integrating SMART goals within the OKR framework can enhance clarity and ensure that the objectives are realistic and grounded.

Integration Steps:

  1. Objective Setting: Establish clear, ambitious objectives that align with organisational vision and goals. Each objective should be broad, inspiring, and qualitative.
  2. Define Key Results: For every objective, define 3-5 key results using the SMART criteria. These key results should be quantifiable, achievable, and indicative of objective achievement.
  3. Alignment and Transparency: Ensure that SMART goals derived from key results are shared and understood across the team or organisation, fostering alignment and collective effort towards common objectives.
  4. Review and Adapt: Regularly review progress against key results, allowing for the adjustment of SMART goals as necessary to reflect learning, changes in priority, or evolving conditions.

Example: An objective might be to expand the company's market presence. Key results could include entering two new international markets (Specific and Measurable), achieving a 15% market share in each within one year (Achievable and Time-bound), and increasing brand recognition as measured by a specified survey (Relevant). Each key result is articulated as a SMART goal, providing a clear pathway to achieving the broader objective.

By using SMART goals in conjunction with KPIs and OKRs, organisations can create a structured, effective approach to goal setting and performance management. This blend not only drives strategic alignment and operational excellence but also ensures that efforts are consistently directed towards meaningful, measurable outcomes.

How to track professional SMART goals effectively

Progress chart of a SMART goal in Tability
Tracking goals with Tability

Using the SMART way to write goals will bring clarity to your company and team goals at the beginning of each planning cycle. But, you won’t get the full benefit of having goals unless you have a great process in place to evaluate progress and continuously improve your strategy.

There are 3 things that matter to track SMART goals effectively:

  • Schedule regular review sessions: Schedule periodic reviews to evaluate progress, celebrate achievements, and identify areas for improvement.
  • Embrace flexibility: Be prepared to adjust your goals as new challenges and opportunities arise, maintaining a balance between ambition and adaptability.
  • Make trends easy to see: Leverage goal-tracking platforms to monitor progress, set reminders, and share updates with stakeholders.

A tool like Tability will offer 10+ automated dashboards to see trends on goals and drive accountability.

What are the benefits of having SMART goals in business?

SMART goals help you streamline processes, align team efforts, and achieve organisational objectives. The power of SMART goals is that they can turn vague aspirations into clear, approachable, and actionable targets.

If your team is on the fence, we’ve compiled for you a list of key areas where SMART work goals will bring significant benefits: increased visibility, improved decision-making, faster progression, and better time management.

1. Increased visibility

Having SMART goals is crucial for enhancing visibility in an organisation. For a team to work together and accomplish great things, they need to have a shared vision that motivates and unites them. SMART objectives help in creating clear, specific, and measurable goals, and provide a common language for everyone in the team. This shared understanding ensures that everyone is working towards the same objectives. This increased visibility helps align individual efforts, promote collaboration, and also gives meaning to day-to-day tasks. When people understand how their work contributes to the bigger picture, they feel more engaged, valued, and committed to the organisation's success.

2. Improved decision-making

SMART goals help make things clearer and more organised. They force teams to prioritise tasks based on their importance and deadlines. By focusing on the most important and time-sensitive tasks, businesses can make better decisions, allocate resources more efficiently, and put their efforts into the most impactful projects. This approach to goal-setting and decision-making can lead to more efficient problem-solving, less waste, and better overall performance.

3. Faster progression

Another benefit of using SMART goals is that it can help organisations progress and grow faster. By setting achievable and time-bound goals, teams can have a clear picture of what they want to achieve. When employees have a specific target to work towards, they are more likely to feel inspired, engaged, and committed to achieving success. SMART goals break down larger objectives into smaller milestones, which makes it easier for teams to track their progress and celebrate small wins along the way. By focusing on what matters most and working together towards a common goal, teams can achieve remarkable results in a shorter time frame.

4. Better time management

Perhaps the best part about the SMART framework is that it encourages teams to break down large goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. Managers can have a better look into their team's workflow, which can help them identify areas of improvement, resource gaps, and potential bottlenecks. When managers have a clear understanding of the tasks at hand and the time required to complete them, they can make informed decisions about resource allocation, workload distribution, and capacity planning. Having more visibility and control over time management can increase productivity, reduce stress levels and improve work-life balance.

The risk with SMART goals: don’t be overly obsessed with metrics

While the SMART framework offers great benefits in terms of focus and clarity, it’s not without risks. The emphasis on metrics may overlook the broader objectives and result in having a narrow focus that might miss on the initial problem.

Let’s take the objective of having happy customers. We can all recognise happiness when we see it, but it’s really hard to measure effectively. So, we look for proxy metrics such as NPS, CSAT, survey data, etc… Consequently SMART goals will focus on one or more of these metrics – and this is where the risk lies.

There are many ways to improve NPS and CSAT scores without making users happier. For instance, a team that only surveys users in-app will have higher scores than a team that sends surveys via email. Why? Because email captures the feedback of people that have stopped using your product, whereas in-app only looks at the perspective of active users. The former group is more likely to be dissatisfied than the latter.

What's next? SMART goals and AI

Try our AI Goals Generator to create tailored examples that fit your objectives.

Sign up for Tability to get a complete platform to set goals using AI and keep track of progress with automated dashboards and built-in accountability features.

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Sten Pittet

Co-founder and CEO, Tability

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