The reason why SMART goals are stupid
I am going to get a lot of hate mail from life and business coaches about this one, but to me it is self-evident that SMART goals are so old school. SMART stands for the goal to have the following characteristics:
- Specific: Is the goal stated specifically enough that you will know you have reached it?
- Measurable: Is the goal able to be evaluated, either qualitatively or quantitavely?
- Attainable: Can the goal be achieved?
- Relevant: Does the goal align with the goals of your company of function?
- Timed-based: What, specifically, it the target date for its completion?
They do have a place in business, although they should be used sparingly. What is the problem with them? SMART goals are stupid because they are result based and focused and very rarely if ever people-focused. People are the ones working on the goals though.
So here is my peace offer to everybody who staunchly insists SMART goals are a must. Because SMART goals are like a boat with no sail, kick your game up with adding a SAIL component to your goals. I recently read about this in Tasha Eurich’s book “Bankable Leadership”. In short you help include the people side of your goals like this:
- Stretch: Is the goal challenging enough to make the person raise their game?
- Ability: Does the person completing the goal have the ability (or reasonably learn to accomplish it?
- Importance: Does the goal feel personally important to the person blessed with this goal?
- Learning: Does the goal help grow their skills in a way that they want to grow them?
Now we have a really powerful goal set because you made it personal to the folks having to worry about executing them. The business of business is business. That is unlikely to change, but businesses cannot function without people. It cannot be ignored that people do business with people. Humans have needs, wants, desires, dreams, and their own goals. Kick up your stupid SMART goals with blowing some wind into SAIL goals.