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How to Set SMART Goals for Your Supply Chain Career

Goal setting is an effective habit and can be an almost therapeutic process.

It’s critically important, however, to set goals correctly. Too often, people consider only final outcomes without taking into consideration the small benchmark goals. Or, they set goals that are not big enough.

One highly effective way to set goals is to use a method called SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound). SMART guidelines can keep you from getting discouraged, helping you to actually achieve your goals.

Let’s examine each aspect of the SMART method in detail.


When you set specific goals, you’re much more likely to reach them.

Start by setting specific ‘big-picture’ goals. This helps to set the roadmap for the plan by framing its meaning and intent. For instance, a specific goal is wanting to become an executive director of strategic sourcing, as opposed to the general goal of wanting to be a supply chain executive.

Next, you need to set smaller goals that will put you on the path to achieving your big-picture goal.


When you are able measure your goals, you can view your progress, and this ability to visualize enables you to feel a sense of momentum, which can help keep you going.

Identify criteria for gauging progress on each objective you set. Ensure you can definitively know when each objective is reached.


Set objectives large and small that you know are possible with hard work and personal growth. When you concentrate on only the goals that happen to be most critical and possibile to you, you’ll be more prone to achieve them. Furthermore, you’ll get the abilities and knowledge to reach them.

You can achieve nearly any goal when you plan wisely. An objective that might have seemed distant and unrealistic gradually moves closer and seems very possible.


Consider how each goal you set pertains to downstream personal or professional goals. Each goal should be pushing you, or your plan forward, in either the short term or long term. If an objective isn’t highly relevant to other goals you have, it could be challenging to build up the time and energy required to achieve it.

Each goal could be aspirational, or it could be pragmatic. Either way, you should ensure every goal allows you to make measurable progress on big goals. If you’re not reaching big, long-term goals you have set, you may have to reassess your roadmap.


Every goal you set ought to have a timeframe attached. Without a deadline, it may be hard to generate a sense of urgency or significant motivation. However, if you link a timeframe to a goal, then you instantly set your mind in motion on achieving that goal before the deadline.

Achieve Your Supply Chain Career Goals

At ZDA, we regularly help ambitious professionals set SMART career goals. If you’re currently looking for career assistance, contact our leading supply chain recruiters today to find out how we can help you.


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