Do you remember SMART goals? I was introduced to the concept early in my career.
Smart goals are specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time bound.
Unfortunately, they’re also usually horrifically boring and uninspiring.
The SMART goal concept isn’t bad in theory. A SMART goal is better than no goal or a vague goal.
But if you limit yourself to SMART goals, you’ll limit your thinking.
That’s because SMART goals tend to be task-oriented. Like, Do the marketing report every week and do it exactly this way.
Smart goals tend to be things assigned by your boss. Unfortunately, accomplishing only these types of tasks results in you playing small.
Breakthrough accomplishments and leadership requires more than what’s asked of you; it requires you to set strategic goals for yourself.
Putting a man on the moon didn’t start with a smart goal. It started with a big idea.
Smart goals pushed the process forward, but they weren’t the initial jumping off point.
In business, we bandy about words like objectives, goals, and strategy so much we’re often not clear on what the words mean.
To provide clarity, let’s unpack the difference between accomplishing tasks versus setting strategic goals.
Strategic goals are bigger, more complex. They require more than just checking the box that you did it.
Let’s look at a few examples.
A strategic goal might be something like:
Strategic goals require creativity; they’re a mix of dreaming and practicality.
Now let’s look at a few tasks:
For example, if you’re in sales, and you want to attract more new clients, tasks that support your goal may be sending 10 prospecting emails every day.
Success depends on your ability to manage both the strategic and the tactical.
If you simply focus on tasks, you’ll stay in a reactionary mode.
Leaders need to be proactive. Strategic thinking is about looking into the future, and deciding where you want to place your attention.
It’s about what you say yes to, and even more important, what you say no to.
When you’re setting strategic goals for yourself, focus on two things:
You don’t need to spell out every detail of a goal to start making progress.
Part of learning is adjusting as you go.
Smart goals are a great way to implement, but for inspiration, you need to think even bigger.
What strategic goals will you set for yourself?