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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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After you’ve constructed an action plan you need to think about how good it is. Fortunately, there is a tool called SMART to help you do this.

This means the best action plans are:

  • Specific – they state the goal, ideally as an outcome. For instance, saying that you will weigh 10 stones is more specific than saying that you will weigh less than you do now.
  • Measurable – you will know whether or not you have achieved something. If you know you want to end up at 10 stones, you know how many pounds you need to lose, and can measure your progress.
  • Achievable – it is within reasonable reach for you. Assessing this, for instance, might involve checking what percentage weight loss this would represent and how long it might take you to do it.
  • Realistic – it takes circumstances into account. For instance, if your weight loss plan involves a 20% loss over three months, and you worked out how many pounds weight loss per week that would mean, you would be better able to judge whether or not it is practical.
  • Time-bound – it has a target within which you will have done something. If three months is not realistic for your weight loss, what would be?

You can use the SMART tool to help you to create goals and action plans, as well as to review how good your plan is.

See how you get on using SMART in the next activity.

Activity 6 Using SMART criteria

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Look back at Jon’s action plan and review it against the SMART criteria. Would you say that it meets them?

Look for the evidence against each of the criteria. An example has been given to start you off. You may have to make some assumptions about what is realistic or achievable, but look for indicators of whether or not Jon has tried to test these things. Carry out your own SMART analysis by copying this example grid into your notebook or you can complete it in your Resource pack [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Table 7 SMART evidence
Criterion Evidence
Time-bound Example – Jon gives himself four years in which to do a degree.


You probably found that some of Jon’s ideas were ‘SMARTer’ than others. This should have given you some clues on what you might imitate or do differently in your own planning.

In the next section you will devise your own action plan and test it using SMART.