You’ve probably heard of SMART goals. It’s a way of setting goals that many people have used for years. But did you know that you don’t have to have SMART goals? Read on to find out more, but first, here’s a recap of the traditional way of doing things:
Specific – this means you goal needs to be definite and unambiguous.
Measureable – so that you can measure the change that occurs, in terms of number of clients, size of turnover or whatever you’re aiming for.
Achievable – within your reach. If you’ve only got two clients now and you want 100 within two months, can you really do it?
Realistic – could your business cope with taking on 98 more clients in two months? Are there that many people needing your service in your area?
Timed – when do you want to achieve your goal?
So a SMART goal for your business might be to double the number of clients over the next 12 months.
The problem with setting yourself SMART goals is that they might not inspire you. They may not encourage you to push yourself and your business, to see what you can really accomplish. Here’s why:
Specific – this is not always a good thing, because it would exclude goals like those of Apple for “insanely great technology”.
Measureable – so something measurably average is better than something clearly outstanding that’s hard to quantify?
Achievable and Realistic – objectives you know you can achieve are much less challenging than ones you might achieve, if you really put your mind to it. The worst thing about achievable objectives is that once you meet them, you’re likely to stop trying. An impossible goal like “to be the best career coach in the UK” is much more likely to inspire you. You may never get there, but every day you’ll get a little closer.
Timed – this creates a dangerous illusion that you can decide not only what’s going to change, but how long it will take. In reality the world is unpredictable and you need to be ready to change with it.
Some people believe that using SMART objectives assumes that the future is predictable, that it will be similar to the present and that your continual success will simply require more of what you’re already doing. If this is you, set goals for yourself and your business that really inspire you, even if you never quite reach them.
If you’d prefer to set SMART goals, that’s fine too. The framework works really well for some people, especially if you’ve not done much goal setting before. Use SMART goals that will drive your business forward.
How SMART are your goals?