The above goal conditions for positively affecting motivation and performance have commonly been referred to as SMART goals. In order for goals to translate into motivation and improved performance, goals must be specific. A goal to just jump higher is too general.
Goals must be measurable to be able to provide progress feedback and to know when the goal is achieved. Three inches (and increments below, between, and above) are both measurable and specific in order for the high jumper to be able to gauge his progress and achievement. The goal must be challenging, yet realistic. Lowering the bar for a high jumper could not realistically increase motivation nor enhance performance. In order for goals to positively affect motivation and performance, goals must be time-related. For the high jumper, he may set a time within three months which may provide a realistic time frame to meet his goal. SMART goals also may be evolving into SMARTER goals with the E adopting meanings like emotional, exciting, enthusiastic, and evaluate and R adopting terms such as reevaluate, reassess, and reviewed often.


Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson first developed the SMART goal system when branching the concept of goal theory beyond academia into the area of management and leadership (Blanchard, Zigarmi, & Zigarmi, 1985). Instead, an example of a specific goal would be to improve high jump by three inches.A management goal to improve profits is too general. Therefore, instead of the goal being improve high jump by three inches, the jumpers goal could be to increase high jump from 64 inches to 67 inches. Similarly, the manager can measure the progress of the sales figures to understand how much focus and resources to dedicate to achieving the goal. Similarly, setting a goal to raise the bar ten feet is not a realistic or attainable goal and would therefore not positively affect motivation or performance. Similarly, increase sales by 300% may not be a realistic and attainable goal.
Therefore, a goal of increasing sales from $80,000 to $86,400 is more specific and measurable than the ambiguous goal to just increase sales. By setting goals unrealistically high, the manager may not see increased motivation or performance in the sales team.


Similarly, before I’m forty may be a time line that is so far into the future and lacks urgency and motivation. A realistic time line for our manager might be by the end of next quarter. Over time, the SMART acronym for goals has evolved into what they are today: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Related. Increasing sales by 8% by the end of the week may be too aggressive, and before the company goes bankrupt is too vague of a time line. Track-able is redundant to measurable and has been replaced with time-related because goals with no deadline lack direction and urgency.



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