Take a DUMB Approach
If we have learned anything over the past two years of the pandemic, is that the command-and-control, Supply Chain approach for obtaining our goals is a input-output black-box pipe dream
Despite this, for years, the most popular method of goal-setting SMART
method of Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Timebound, has been the stale chewing gum that folks seem to still keep on chewing, despite having already lost its flavor around 1981, when it was conceived by George Doran
. Doran designed the model based on the 60’s by work psychologist Edwin Locke
around goal-setting theory
, as a way to focus in on intention, motivation, and commitment.
The SMART method is snappy, memorable, and marketable - but it is also a significant blinder to actually attaining meaningful and transformative goals.
Why is SMART, not so smart?
SMART sets up blinders to convicting or emerging information because the focus is narrowed before the work gets started.
Let’s take the Specific
- if you are narrowing the goal completely from the get-go, what happens if you are going down a path, that is not connected to a strategy, is anything anyone cares about or needs, or it runs counter to other goals from your team members or customers? This is similar to what Stephen Covey
said about ladders:
“It’s incredible easy to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success, only to discover that it’s leaning against the wrong wall. If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster. – Stephen Covey
Moving on to Measurable, which is based in the "what gets measured gets done” philosophy. The challenge here is: who determines if the indicators are measuring meaningful impact? A few simple HR examples: Full-Time Equivalent, number of applicants, training hours, absenteeism. These measures actually detract from the purpose behind what one is actually trying to achieve. Moreover, often measures or KPI’s are chosen on a quantity instead of quality basis, or because “we have always measured that way”. This may cause one to ignore other important and more relevant datapoints.
Assignable - is only one person responsible for obtaining a goal? Extremely rarely.
? In a 2021 study
by Intelligence IQ, it was found that most
didn’t feel like their goals will help them achieve great things, with 53% choosing realistic and achievable goals rather than difficult goals or audacious goals. Reminding me of the Scott Galloway