Are Your Goals SMART?

30.11.18 10:34 PM Comment(s) By Nikole

Many of us have learned about SMART Goals in leadership development class, but I have found that there are a large number of clinical leaders that either 1) don't know what SMART Goals are or 2) don't know how to properly implement them. This post will teach you how to immediately implement this goal setting process for your clinical team, and reap the rewards of having specific, measurable goals.


What are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym for the following:

  • Specific: simple, sensible, significant
  • Measurable: meaningful, motivating
  • Achievable: agreed, attainable
  • Relevant: reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based
  • Time bound: time-based, time limited

Every goal should have each of these elements specifically defined.

Example of Non-SMART Goals

Some examples that don't follow this template would be:

  • I want to be valuable to the team. This example isn't specific or measurable. How do you want to specifically add value to the team? How do you want that value measured?
  • I want to graduate business school. This is a good start, but doesn't set a time. Do you want to graduate in 3 years? 10?
  • I want to increase our HCAPS scores in the next three months. Now we are getting closer with the goal being specific, measurable, relevant, and time bound, but is it achievable? There should be more information included around how this leader plans on making this goal a reality to make sure that they can really achieve it.

Example of SMART Goals

Let's take the last example and clean it up to be a SMART Goal. As I mentioned before, it's a good practice to actually write out the entire acronym and fill it in for each goal. The goal above, being SMART, would look like this:

Increase HCAPS Score

  • S: Increase HCAPS scores on my unit
  • M: Overall increase of 5%
  • A: Working with clinical leadership, we have agreed that leveraging process improvement processes, this goal is attainable.
  • R: Our hospital is now being paid based off these ratings
  • T: We plan to see this amount of gain in the next three months. We will track monthly progress and update plans accordingly.

Using this simple template, you can turn all your (and your team's) non-specific or measurable goals into things that can be tracked and reported on. This also gives a great template for your one-on-one appointments and yearly reviews, which we will address in more detail in a later article.

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