Great goals tell you where you want to go and usually give you a roadmap to get there. With a start and end point in sight, you can easily track personal development along the way. If you’re a regular in the business or corporate world, you’ve probably specifically heard of the SMART Goal strategy. Widely adopted and very popular, this particular strategy of development tracking can help and inhibit the level of development at the same time.
While you should strive for smart and well-thought-out goals, SMART is actually an acronym. It stands for Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Time-sensitive. In other words, “It’s a simple tool used by businesses to go beyond the realm of fuzzy goal-setting into an actionable plan for results.” As a way to package the goal-setting process into an easily memorable acronym, it works wonders.
When you make goals that are specific, measurable, and relevant you can more easily visualize and eventually realize them. A sales representative wanting to close 20 more deals by the end of the year knows what that means, and he or she can make changes to get there. SMART Goals give guidelines and boundaries to keep people on track to make development and improvement something measurable.
These SMART Goals can be limiting
The problem arises with the “attainable” part of the SMART strategy. When discussing the culture of creativity that Google has fostered over the years, CEO Larry Page says you have to think of change in a factor of 10. For most, multiplying sales output by 10 might not be realistic, but it’s the fact of thinking that large. Page isn’t alone in this kind of thinking either.
In the report “Are SMART Goals Dumb?” the Leadership IQ team takes the stance that goals should be difficult and should push the individual.
And statistically, to achieve greatness, a goal also has to be bigger than ourselves. We have to identify whose lives will be enriched by our goals. And those goals had better be absolutely necessary (and also aligned with our organization’s top priorities) or they just aren’t going to help employees achieve great things.
This argument emphasizes that you need to make these tough goals necessary and clearly identified. When you’re improving by that factor of degree, identifying and tracking that goal along the way can prove much more difficult. However, the results can really justify the effort. In that same paper, Leadership IQ reported that employees who agreed with the statement “I can vividly picture how great it will feel when I achieve my goals” were nearly 50% more engaged.
Lessonly helps stretch SMART Goals
In the SMART system, Attainable goals are limited by the ability to Measure them. With a better way to measure development, goals of higher degrees become more attainable. Lessonly excels in helping teams and individuals measure their development.
For example, after setting a goal to increase the customer satisfaction by 25%, you can assign Lessonly Lessons at a regular cadence to provide the knowledge and preparation needed to hit this goal. Our software makes quizzes and questions easily trackable so teams and individuals can see where they started and how their development is going. Since overall customer satisfaction is a cumulative number, Lessonly can help track the improvements in multiple areas like number of support tickets handled in a day and growing the net promoter score. When you break down larger and more ambitious goals into trackable developments with Lessonly, thinking 10 times bigger suddenly doesn’t seem that much larger.
Ready to start stretching your SMART Goals a little further? Take a tour of Lessonly to see how we can help track your development. Sign up today.