Leadership Goals: Why you Want to Make your People Uncomfortable


Not so SMARTGoalsIs the goal setting process for you bland and an administrative pain? Your people most likely think the same way and dread it just as much as you do.

Maybe you are too SMART.

If I told you that there is a fun and exciting way of setting goals that will produce astounding results… would you have the courage to do it?

A little history…

Peter Drucker was a pioneer in management consulting in the 1950’s and is best known for Management by Objectives process that, among several factors, brought clarity to the goal setting process. Something that was instrumental at the time.

From Peter’s MBO Process, George Doran created the S.M.A.R.T Way of setting Goals. SMART is an acrostic for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. There are several derivatives to the acrostic but the message is the same.

A half-century ago that was a wonderful process. A lot has changed but many companies still use the SMART Process for setting goals.

Why is the SMART Process of setting goals, well not so smart?

The overall problem with the SMART Goal Setting Process is that the goal ends up being Limiting and does not elicit the Human Spirit.

  • Specific tends to be a maximum level thinking and not minimum level thinking.
  • Measurable becomes the focus. Goals that reasonably cannot  be measured usually are not created.
  • Achievable limits creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to what is known and been done before.
  • Realistic creates the most limitations by not allowing people to grow or expand.
  • Time-bound allows a person to have more time than they need as most people will not finish a goal earlier than the time “given”.  Why would they; after all the goal is realistic?

Work tends to fall into two categories; Routine and Goal oriented work. Leaders usually are focused primarily on Goal oriented work.

Simplistically, goals create something new or improve something.

To set goals a new way for yourself you would:

  • Establish a goal that pushes you way out of your comfort zone
  • Make the goal just out of your grasp
  • Require new skills that help you grow personally and professionally
  • Have an impact outside of yourself by improving the lives of others
  • Be high value to the company and is worthwhile
  • Be essential to your very being
  • Challenge your limiting beliefs

How do you bridge the gap from SMART Goals to this new way?

  • Write the goal in such a way that when you read it you can visualize it like a movie. This will connect the person with the goal emotionally thus eliciting he Human Spirit. Craft this movie in your mind so you feel like you just came from a theater blockbuster.
  • Fast forward in your mind where you actually reach the goal. Bring in the five senses and ask, “What do you feel, see, hear, smell, touch, taste?”
  • Include the benefits of reaching the goal.
  • Bask in that place for bit.

Once you have created your goals, you can do this with your team and see what kind of results you get this year.

Have you always used the SMART Goal Setting Process or something different? Please comment below what you use for your Goal Setting Process and how well it works for you.

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