When SMART Goals Produce Dumb Results

Can SMART goals produce dumb results? The short answer is “yes”. But the better question to ask yourself is, “How can we keep this from happening to us?”

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

The main problem with SMART goals, or goals in general, is that they are just ideas, thoughts or expectations. They generate no energy, no forward motion until you take action. If you make a half-hearted attempt to achieve them, or are not fully committed, then what happens? Poor or (dumb) results are the eventual outcome.

Goal-setting and planning are balance sheet approaches. They offer only a snapshot of what is important to you today, and how to get there from here. However, there is no momentum, no “wood behind the arrow”. Without this momentum being generated and directed, it’s hard to reach the intended target. A P&L approach is what’s required to make them come to life.

A P&L approach can create the sustainable energy needed to produce positive action and measurable results.

Don’t misunderstand my message. I believe that having clear-cut goals and actionable plans are essential to growth and success in any endeavor. In fact, I’ve devoted an entire online course to the goal-setting and planning process, Discover YOUR Formula for Success. However, they are just a part of the puzzle. As you know, more than goals and plans are required to produce great results.

So, what are the missing links critical to consistently producing great results?

To answer this question I have created an acronym, FACE, because there just aren’t enough acronyms to go around these days. Besides resources, there are four critical links needed to help bring your goals and plans to life, and produce great (not dumb) results.

  1. Focus. Be sure to align your SMART goals and plans with your actions, so you don’t get derailed, and greater success can be achieved as an outcome.
  2. Accountability. If it’s to be, it’s up to … who? Hold yourself and your team accountable for making it happen. This is a major stumbling block for most of us.
  3. Continuous Improvement. If you’re not getting better, you’re falling behind. Just think what a 1% improvement each week would translate to annually.
  4. Execution. Without proper execution, your goals and plans cannot be effectively carried out. In fact, as much as 85% of success can be tied to execution.

Avoid the trap of thinking that the hard part is done once your goals and plans are in place. The fun is just beginning! At the end of the day, more FACE (not cowbell) is what will ultimately get you and your team to the finish line.

If your SMART goals are producing dumb results today, it’s probably not a failure on the part of the goal-setting process. In all likelihood, it’s because one or more of the critical links above are being overlooked.

FACE will provide the impetus required to enable us to reach those lofty goals, and to achieve greater success at whatever we set out to accomplish.

Enjoy the journey!


COPYRIGHT © 2020-22 John Carroll