Using SMART goals to move programming and the strategic plan forward

By VP Kim Feller

ProAct utilizes the SMART goal model to develop, implement, act on, and accomplish programing goals. SMART goals are not a new concept, having been introduced to the workplace in 1968.

The model helps program leaders appropriately set achievable goals and has a framework that, when followed, leads them to accomplishing those goals through a set-by-step process. It’s a wonderful tool for leaders, new and seasoned!

Practical uses

Recent SMART goal themes here have included ProAct’s move to its new Shakopee service location in November 2021, and building a revenue model for programs with “billable” outcome-based services.

SMART goals are also developed to enhance the skillsets of the staff ultimately to better serve and understand the disabilities of the individuals ProAct serves. Because of COVID-19, staff roles and responsibilities have changed and will continue to change.

Adapting to new realities

For example, direct service professionals who supervised community job sites are now teaching enrichment classes. DSPs primarily serving participants living with traumatic brain injuries are also now serving participants diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and vice versa.

ProAct Senior Program Manager Stephanie Osman quickly realized that ongoing training and education was crucial in order to empower the team to confidently provide quality services to all participants, no matter their disability diagnosis.

Stephanie describes the overwhelming feeling of this task: How should this be organized and where to start? Who has the time? Why is it relevant and for how long?

With her SMART goal template in place, she developed a 12-month staff training calendar to help her identify training topics, coordinate the training sessions and provide go-to materials as takeaways from each session.

“I truly believe knowledge is power,” Stephanie explains. “And, a SMART goal was necessary to keep me on track to ensure that my team receives the tools needed to provide the most efficient and quality services to ProAct participants.”

Stephanie’s SMART goal holds her to a promise of sorts; she dedicates Friday mornings to research and schedule her biweekly trainings for staff. “It’s been great listening to the staff as they engage and offer their expertise and thoughts on each topic and the approaches they need to have in their pocket, so to speak.”

The ‘Big 3’

The first three trainings focused on what Stephanie refers to as “The Big 3,” traumatic brain injury, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and mental illness. She explained to her team that these are the three main areas that the majority of disabilities that are on the schedule fall into.

Stephanie’s SMART goal will continue throughout the calendar year and future topics include Parkinson’s, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, autism, and many more. A huge benefit as a result of this particular SMART Goal is that the trainings are conducted remotely, so staff from all ProAct sites can join in and participate.

“It’s been an amazing way to connect and share experiences among different team members, and realize that whether we’re in Eagan, Shakopee, Red Wing or Hudson, we all have a common goal in carrying out ProAct’s Mission.”

More information on SMART goals is available at