Using Data & the SMARTER Goal Setting Framework to Make Goals More Specific

Data and research can be very useful in making goals more specific using a data-informed SMARTER goal setting process.

SMARTER is an acronym for setting goals. Different organizations or individuals prefer slightly different words that make up the acronym, the most commonly used words are included below.

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable or Meaningful
  • A = Actionable, Achievable, Attainable, or Action-Oriented
  • R = Relevant or Realistic
  • T = Time-bound or Timely
  • E = Evaluate
  • R = Readjust or Revise

You can use our free Data-Informed S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal Setting Workbook to help you or your organization prepare for and work through your goal setting process.

As the video below discusses, making goals specific involves specifying the what, how, why, who, and/or where part of the goal.

As discussed in the above video, data can help provide actual, specific numbers of how your organization is currently doing in certain areas and provide a way to measure improvement as specified in the specific goal(s).

For example, marketing metrics such as the click through rate for ads, social media engagement rate, email open rate, data on customer demographics, and other such metrics are probably ones that your organization already measures and can give you very specific data on how well your organization is doing in these specific areas.

Research can provide additional insights such as emerging trends in your organization’s industry to use as a benchmark for your organization to strive towards. Additionally research can provide additional insights on the who, what, where, or how factor of the goal(s).

When using data and research to help set more specific goals it is important to keep several things in mind.

For one it is important to understand the data sources as well as the data sources’ limitations on how specific of data they can provide. The data can only be as specific as it is collected or entered into the data source. This also means that the goal can only be made as specific as you or your organization can find or create a data source to measure that data point as specifically as your organization would need it to be in order to track that goal.

For example, if using geographic data to track a goal such as increasing the number of customers in a specific city, the data source would have to provide the data at that same city level, not at the state or country level.

Also, it is important to specify units of measurement. For instance, a goal of increasing something by 5 times is a lot different than increasing it by 5%.

Additionally, it is important to know which units of measurement are provided in the data and which units would have to be calculated. For example if the data source provides time in minutes but the goal deals with time in hours, then a calculation will have to be done to convert minutes to hours.

Factoring in the time and/or resources it will take to measure progress towards the goal(s) with how specific that goal is or those goals are is another important thing to keep in mind. You want the goals to be as specific as it will be useful for them to be, but not too specific or more specific than is really needed. You do not want to waste time and/or resources tracking and calculating data to measure progress towards the goal(s) that is more specific than it needs to be.

You can use our free Data-Informed S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal Setting Workbook to help you or your organization prepare for and work through your goal setting process.

RILLIAN is a consulting agency focused on Research & Insights Leading to Learning, Innovation And actioN (R.I.L.L.I.A.N).

If you or your organization needs assistance and support involving any of the above to achieve your goals, or if you or your organization is in need of assistance in setting and tracking your goals using data-informed or data-driven methods, contact us and let’s getting working on that together! Schedule a meeting, learn more about us, connect with us on LinkedIn, or watch our Three Minute Tuesday/Thursday video series on our YouTube channel.

Posted in Data analysis, Research, Strategic Planning, Three Minute Tuesdays.

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