SMART Goals: 5 Tips for Motivating Employees

SMART goals are absolutely essential to motivating employees for people in management roles. Using them will help you create an environment where they can win, and feel like winners.

The 10/90 rule in smart goal setting says that the first 10% of the time that you spend developing absolute clarity about what is to be done will save you 90% of the time once you begin. It can also save you 90% of the mistakes, the costs, and the time of other people involved.

You’ve heard it said that, “You can’t hit a target that you can’t see.” And the follow-up that is, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

So without further ado, here are my 5 tips for using SMART goals in management.

Pay close attention to the specific goal-setting techniques designed to encourage and motivate your entire team to hit their targets.

1. Use SMART Goals and Objectives

What are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound objectives you wish to achieve.

You have most likely heard of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym in setting business or personal goals.

SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound

S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Relevant

T = Time-bound


It is perfectly clear to everyone who must be involved in its achievement. A child can tell you how close you are to accomplishing it. It is clear and unambiguous. Most of the problems with goal achieving stem back to a lack of clarity in setting the goal in the first place.


It can be defined in numerical or financial terms. It can be broken down into steps, each of which can be measured as well. The more clear the measures, the easier it is to focus and concentrate on achieving those numbers.


It can be accomplished within the constraints of time, money, the external environment, the economy, the skills and abilities of the team members and the other constraints contained both inside and outside the company.


It is within the bounds of reality and is something that people can develop a high level of confidence in achieving. In goal setting, many goals are “merely aspirational.” They do not reflect reality. They are more wishes and hopes than goals.


When you have specific schedules for the attainment of each part of the goal, and the completion of each part of the task, it is much easier for people to achieve the goal on schedule.

2. Break it Down by Tasks and Accomplishments

Defining winning can be a major factor in motivating employees. For a person to win, he has to know where the finish line is. He has to know how you define winning. He has to know exactly what he has to do to complete the task and cross the finish line. This is the first step in creating a smart business.

The smaller and tighter the increments, the easier it is for the other person to feel like a winner. Each time that the staff member achieves a mini-goal, he or she feels like a “mini-winner.” It is the manager’s responsibility to help the employee see that they are using proper goal setting techniques and setting reasonable milestones for them to achieve. Be sure that these small increments add up to big wins that are in line with specific business goals.

When you assign people a large, multitask project, that may take many months to complete, be sure to set up a series of milestones and benchmarks so that people can have short-term targets to aim at, and can continually generate the feeling of winning.

3. Motivate Employees with Successful Experiences

For a person to feel like a winner, he must succeed at the task. He must achieve the goal. He must accomplish the responsibility and get the result that he was tasked for. Not only is it the job of the manager to motivate employees, but they must also help each person experience success.

If a person has been given a job that is too much for him, the job of the manager is to adjust the job, assign parts of it to someone else, and make it more manageable for the employee. The focus is always on making sure that, whatever job the person has, they are capable of doing it successfully sooner or later.

The best way for motivating employees who are new is to give them a series of small jobs that are clearly within their ability.

4. Practice Individual Recognition and Make Goals Attainable

They say, “Children cry for it; grown men die for it.”

Everybody needs to be recognized for their individual accomplishments by the people around them, and especially above them. Since your team members are intrinsically motivated, it is the anticipation of the recognition they will receive for the completion of a task that motivates them internally to “go the extra mile.”

A good tactic for motivating employees is to give positive recognition for an accomplishment, which raises a person’s self-esteem, improves their self-image, and motivates them to do even more and better in the future.

5. Provide Rewards

This is the icing on the cake. You can only get by with praise and recognition for task completion for a limited amount of time. At some point, you must give some kind of reward to acknowledge superior results. Along with motivating employees, if there are no rewards following extra efforts, people lose their enthusiasm and conclude internally, “what’s the use?”

Rewards, however, can be tangible or intangible. A tangible reward is material or financial in some way. It may be a briefcase or a gift certificate. It may be a bonus or a pay increase. These rewards are great for motivating employees and act as a continuous spur to better performance.

Rewards can be intangible as well. An intangible reward can be something as simple as taking the person out to lunch to celebrate their success. It can be a bigger office or desk. It can be a new office chair or a new computer. I learned that the best financial reward for motivating employees is a specific bonus tied to completion of a specific task. It is a one-time affair. It is not a permanent pay increase that goes on month after month.

Short term rewards and bonuses are just as motivating as long-term pay increases. Another intangible reward is time off. When one of my staff members does a great job on a project, I tell them in advance that they need not come in on a Friday. I always give them time to plan their day off in advance, rather than telling them at the last minute.


Dramatically increase your likelihood of achieving your goals with my SMART Goals Checklist.

How to Use SMART Goals to Create Wealth

Accomplish Business Success with Efficient Habits

One of the most important leadership qualities is the ability to control and create efficient habits.

To accomplish business success, develop the habit of negotiating more effectively to get higher prices when you sell and lower prices when you buy. A good negotiator can save or gain 10%, 20% and more on every financial transaction.

Remember that each dollar saved or gained is additional money that you can put away to accumulate and grow in your financial fortress account. Develop the habit of asking for higher prices when you are selling and asking for lower prices when you buy.

Set measurable goals and develop frugal living skills. Ask for lower interest rates. Ask for better terms and conditions. Ask for immediate payment when you sell and ask for deferred payment when you buy. Ask repeatedly. Ask pleasantly. Ask courteously. Ask expectantly. Ask confidently.

But don’t be afraid to ask. Ask for what you want, and if you don’t get it, ask for something else. When people make a lot of money quickly, as the result of success in the stock market, breakthrough, a business success or an invention, the story gets into the newspapers and magazines. But this is precisely because great financial success in a short time is so unusual.

Frugal Living Creates Fortune

Most great fortunes and business success stories are built slowly. They are based on the principle of compound interest, what Albert Einstein called, “The greatest power in the universe.” In fully 99% of cases where people become wealthy, it through setting smart goals, frugal living, and it is based on slow, incremental growth as the result of compound interest. Through

Through frugal living, every dollar that you save, properly invested and protected, has the ability to grow 5% – 10% each year. As your money grows, it compounds on itself and grows even more.

It takes the average millionaire 22 years to accumulate a million dollars from the time he gets serious about setting SMART goals for his or her financial life. They create business success and get rich slowly, by setting SMART goals and gradually increasing their earning ability. They developing a frugal living lifestyle and save more from their income, and investing it carefully and intelligently so that it grows and compounds over the years. You must do the same.

Set SMART Goals for Business Success

  1. Make a decision today that you are going to accumulate more than a million dollars in the years ahead. Write it down as one of your SMART goals, make a plan, and then do something toward achieving it every single day.
  2. Conduct a complete financial analysis on your life; determine your net worth, your income and expenses, and your future possibilities by setting SMART goals.
  3. Open a special financial fortress account and begin putting money into it at every opportunity; never spend this money on anything except investing and growth.
  4. Get your financial life organized, with proper estate planning and insurance, with a family limited partnership to protect your assets.
  5. Begin practicing frugal living by saving a fixed percentage of your income each month; practice the wedge theory and save 50% of every increase from this day forward.
  6. To create business success and investigate before you invest; learn every detail of the business, and be sure you thoroughly understand how your money is to be used and how it will be returned.
  7. Practice frugal living habits in all expenditures; never buy new if you can buy used, never pay full price if you can negotiate something better, delay all major expenditures until you have had ample time to think about them. “Go out and buy yourself a five-cent pencil and a ten-cent notebook and begin to write down some million dollar ideas for yourself.” (Bob Grinde)

The Pursuit of Happiness

The philosopher Aristotle concluded, in his Nicomachean Ethics, “The ultimate end or purpose of all human life is the achievement of personal happiness.”

Becoming financially independent as the result of developing Million Dollar Habits is a great SMART goal in itself, but it is not the most important thing for business success. It is the person that you have to become, in terms of courage, character, thoughtfulness, and persistence that is most important. As the result of becoming financially successful and acquire business success over a long period of time, you will feel truly happy and satisfied with yourself, and with every other part of your life.

This is the most worthwhile SMART goal of all.

No matter the goal, always keep the 80/20 rule in mind to ensure you are spending your time efficiently.


3 Principles to Set and Achieve Goals

If you seek opportunity in life, you’ll end up with all of the security you need. However, if you only seek security, you’ll end up with neither opportunity nor security.

The proof is that this is all around us, in the downsizing and reconstructing of corporations, where thousands of men and women who sought security are finding themselves unemployed for long periods of time.

A person makes his or her own luck by setting SMART goals, following through and achieving them.

Follow these success principles to not only find more opportunities open up in your life but to find greater security as well.

These are derived from three physical laws; the Law of Momentum, the Law of Inertia and the Law of Probability. You can apply these principles equally well to everything that you accomplish or fail to accomplish.

You make your own luck by getting out of your comfort zone and achieving your goals on your own.

First, you must learn why people succeed or fail based on these three laws.

1) The Law of Momentum

The first success principle is the Law of Momentum. In physics, the law of momentum states that a body in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

2) The Law of Inertia

The second success principle is the Law of Inertia. The Law of Inertia states that a body at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

These two laws imply that it may be hard to get started toward your goal because you have to fight the pull of the comfort zone and the force of inertia. But, once you get into motion toward something that is important to you, it’s much easier to continue making progress than it is if you stop somewhere along the way and have to start again.

When you observe successful people, you find that they are very much like the plate spinners in the circus. They get things started. They get the plates spinning. Then, they continually keep them spinning, knowing that if a plate falls off, or something comes to a halt, it’s much harder to get it restarted then it is to keep it going in the first place.

3) The Law of Probability

The third success principle is the Law of Probability. If you want to be more successful faster, just do or try more things. Take more action; get busier. Start a little earlier; work a little harder; stay a little later. Put the odds in your favor. According to the Law of Probability, the more things you try, the more likely it is that you will try the one thing that will make all of the difference. You make your own luck by trying more things and doing more.

How to Achieve Your SMART Goals

Discovering how to achieve your goals starts with you! Once you have a goal and a plan, get going! Once you start moving toward your goal, don’t stop. Do something every day to move closer to the goal. Don’t let the size of the goal, or the amount of time required to accomplish it, discourage you or hold you back from reaching it.

To master the art of goal setting and achievement, consider my home study course, Success Master Academy.

Write Down SMART Goals and Objectives

During your planning process, break down the goal into attainable tasks and activities that you can engage in every day. Create a checklist to follow. You don’t have to do a lot, but every day, every week, every month, you should be making progress in the direction of your clearly-defined goals and objectives by completing your predetermined tasks and activities.

If you want to dramatically increase your likelihood of achieving your goals check out my SMART Goals Checklist.

SMART Goals: 5 Tips for Motivating Employees
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SMART Goals: 5 Tips for Motivating Employees
Learn how to use SMART goals with America's #1 success expert, Brian Tracy. Use them to achieve a better life, grow your business, and motivate your employees.
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Brian Tracy International
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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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