HCBS Training

Writing SMARTIE Goals

Now that the team has organized ideas into a three-year plan and selected the priorities for moving forward, the next step is to develop Year One Goals in more detail. Some teams will select one goal for each of the four Outcome Statements. Teams that are starting slowly may work on only one goal for the whole year.  Once this first goal is moving forward, the team will begin adding on the other goals in Years Two and Three. 

The number of goals, and when they are completed, depends on each team and the unique challenges of the HCBS provider. Start the action-planning process by deciding the amount of work that can be achieved in one year. Then pick one or more goals that will make the biggest impact on the services provided. Start small and build success so that people are excited and can see progress over time.

meeting with four people looking at data

The HCBS Planning Tool has an action plan template that you can use to record:

  • Outcome Statements,
  • Goals, activities and steps to take,
  • People involved,
  • Resources needed,
  • Start and end dates, and
  • How to evaluate progress.

 Use a SMARTIE Goal framework to make sure each goal is clearly written. The SMARTIE goal framework helps your team clearly identify what you want to achieve while making sure the goal is objective, reasonable, and that progress can be tracked over time.  Smartie goals can be used to make sure your team is thinking about how all people are included in the steps for achieving the goal and in a way that encourages equity.  Each box below describes key features of a SMARTIE goal.

Please Note: This visual was adapted from The Management Center's work on SMARTIE goals. Please visit the Module 5 Resource Site for more information.

  • Specific – details describing what will be done are clear and focused
  • Measurable – progress is assessed using data that is tracked over time
  • Attainable– the team is able to complete the goal as it is written
  • Relevant – the goal is important and aligned with values and Outcome Statements
  • Time-bound – includes a clear start and end date to achieve completed work
  • Inclusive – It brings traditionally marginalized people—particularly those most impacted—into processes, activities, and policy/decision-making in a way that shares power.
  • Equitable – Includes an element of fairness and justice that addresses systemic inequity and oppression.

* Adapted from: The Management Center and Indeed Career Guide 

The team for a provider organization supporting older adults with dementia discussed how to build on the work that was done by two staff members as part of a long-term plan. The team brainstormed the actions needed across three years in order to expand on the development of natural supports in the communituy that the two staff members in the organization had already started. 

Year One SMARTIE Goal: During the first year, up to five staff will meet with leaders from five spiritual or community organizations to share information about natural supports. Up to five people receiving services will attend ten or more social events connected to these organizations with help from a Direct Support Professional (DSP) trained to encourage natural supports. Meaningful relationships are defined as: 1) important to the person, 2) time is spent together as friends, and 3) regular connections are made with the person over time.  

The measures used to assess this goal include:

  • A fidelity of implementation checklist containing the key steps staff members take to talk with organizations and prompt conversations completed with 80% or higher self-assessment scores after meeting with leaders from five organizations
  • The number of meaningful relationships reported by people receiving services and staff
  • Cultural responsiveness interview conducted with person receiving support and/or with family members if the person has trouble communicating with others
  • Survey sent to leaders of each organization involved in the collaboration including questions related to cultural responsiveness and impact of project

Year Two Ideas:

  • Modify and enhance the training for DSPs based on what was learned in the first year
  • Expand the number of trained DSPs and their influence over the community exploration and natural supports proccess

Year Three Ideas:

  • Monitor the expanded use of natural supports in the community and culturally-responsive workforce development within the organization
  • Share how natural supports can benefit spiritual organizations, early childhood, and other community settings
  • Share success stories based on the work happening in the first two years
  • Expand visibility for the work that is taking place across websites, newsletters, and newspaper articles
  • Present successes to the Board of Directors


Minnesota Team Checklist.  Item number 16 in Action Planning section.  The team uses assessments to agree on a reasonable list of goals and activities for the year. Score the checklist: 0 – planning not yet started, 1 – in progress, or 2 – fully in place.

Checklist item 16: The team uses assessments to agree on a reasonable list of goals and activities for the year.

Develop SMARTIE goals for your Outcome Statements using Appendix E, SMARTIE Goal Worksheet. 

Minnesota Team Checklist

HCBS Planning Tool

Appendix C Excel File

Appendix C Word Document  

For your convenience Appendix, C is available in both Excel and Word documents. Please access the format you prefer. 

Appendix D (SMARTIE GOAL Worksheet)

If you haven't already done so please use these links to access the tools.