SMART Objectives

I’m sure you’ve heard about SMART objectives (or SMART goals):

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound

And you have probably read about SMARTER objectives too….

…but is SMARTER just a “backronym” or does it add value?


The more I look at SMART objectives vs SMARTER, the more I think that SMARTER is just a ‘backronym’ (by that I mean the acronym came first). I can imagine this thought process “Smarter sounds better than smart, so let’s think of how we can add the ER.”

I’m convinced that the motivation to create SMARTER was driven out of one-upmanship or the drive to create the 2.0 version and “sell it” rather than any practical value add.

Let’s take a look at the options put forward for the E and the R part of SMARTER:

Main option for the ‘E’: Evaluate

Surely this is already covered with Measurable in SMART? That should cover what you are measuring, how the measurement is going to be done and what the expected results are.

Other options I’ve seen: Ethical, Equality, Excitable, Enjoyable, Engaging, Ecological and Extending.

Are any of these of any real, practical value? ‘Extending’ maybe (if you have chosen to use Specific rather than Stretching for the S) but more on that in a subsequent post.

Main option for the ‘R’: Reevaluate

OK, let me get this straight. Someone thought they could add value to SMART objectives by adding Evaluate and Reevaluate. Doesn’t that strike you as a desperate need to fit an acronym rather than moving the world of performance management forward a step?

Other options I’ve seen: Rewarded, Rewarding, Reassess, Revisit, Recordable, Reaching

Oh give me strength!

So, do you talk about SMART or SMARTER objectives. If you’re an advocate of SMARTER? Let us know why and how it benefits you.


If you need help with SMART objectives or run a performance management process that includes them, then why not take a look at using PerformanceHub to manage your performance review process for you online?





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