Creating SMARTer Key Results

Your key results should lead you to successfully fulfilling your objective. Key Results might be:

  • leading indicators: if I do this, the result will probably be that
  • outcome focussed: this is an important step I need to achieve in order to reach my objective

Both are good types of key result, but sometimes “leading indicators” give you more clarity on what you should actually do, so may be more helpful. For example, if you have an objective of increasing your support by $1,500/month, one key result may be to increase your current support by $100/month each month. There are 2 possible ways to create this as a key result:

Key Result: Increase my support by $100/month every month


Key Result: Challenge 10 people to join my support team every month until my objective is reached

While the first “outcome focussed” key result is not bad, the second “leading indicator” actually gives more clarity in how to reach it, so is probably better in this case. It is also “SMART”, because it is:

Specific: you know what to do

Measurable: you can measure how many people you have challenged thoughout the month (it is also more motivating as attaining your result is based on your action, rather than other people’s reaction)

Attainable: it is not overwhelming – 10 challenges are probably attainable (but also stretching), 50 would not be unless this was your full time role

Relevant: it is directly linked to your overall objective of increasing your support by $1,500/month

Time bound: You start now, and end when the objective has been reached.

Where possible, Key Results should start with a verb (Increase, Challenge) and include a numerical value ($100/month, 10 people) and timeframe (every month, objective reached, by December)