Setting Goals and KPIs

When you’ve got clear goals and good plans to reach them, you’re much more likely to be successful.

Here are three main steps when setting clear and effective goals to help you put a strategic plan in place and have you on the road to success in no time.

Step One: Articulate the goal

Write down your goal as a short, simple sentence. Use the S.M.A.R.T system to make it as clear as possible. Goals should be:

Specific – a clear and an accurate reflection of what needs to be achieved.
Measurable – you need to know when you’ve achieved success.
Achievable – it can be challenging, but it shouldn’t be unrealistic.
Realistic – aligned to the resources you currently have available.
Time-bound – with a time limit or deadline so you have something to work towards.

Step Two: Set the objectives

The next step is to break the big goal down into smaller objectives. In other words, the individual steps you’ll need to take to achieve the goal. Objectives should be small and achievable steps along the way to reaching a goal and should be S.M.A.R.T (see Step One).

All goals and objectives need to cascade down through the business. Business goals should be used to set team goals and them team objectives, which are then used for setting individual goals and objectives.

Step Three: Define KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the most important factors that need to be measured and monitored to ensure success. They’re the definition of when you’ve hit the objective or goal. KPIs should be defined in terms of specific data and its point and time of origin.

It’s important to look at a series of KPIs when making decisions about adjustments. This is because a single KPI result may be misleading. It is also important to consider how timely your KPIs are. Do they give you a warning about issues which might arise or only describe what has already happened?

Leading indicators – are designed to drive and measure activities proactively.

Lagging indicators – provide information about events that have already happened.

These steps will show you how you to define your goals so that everyone’s on the same page about what you’re aiming for and your definition of success.

Source: This is an edited extract from ‘Setting Goals and KPIs’, available from AFA Care and Benestar at For more information about accessing AFA Care resources available at Benestar please visit