The 3 Big Problems With SMART Goals. And What You Can Do About It.

The idea of SMART goals or objectives has enormous benefits. (1)

But, in our experience in dealing with small businesses, it suffers from 3 major problems.

Here’s what they are and what you can do about it.

Problem #1 – Too Complicated – SMART goals are great in theory but who actually applies each of the 5 criteria to every one of their business and individual goals or objectives? Great in theory; difficult in practice.

Solution #1 – Use TM Objectives

Problem #2 – Not Aligned – An individual’s SMART objectives that are not aligned to those of the organisation are a complete waste

Solution #2 – Align Them – Set yourself a timeframe by which you will make sure that an individual’s objectives are aligned with those of their team or manager and those of the organisation. We don’t recommend that you aim to achieve this from Day 1. Of course, the day to day work still needs to be done – orders filled, etc. But eventually you want to make sure that you are clear on your TM Objective and Goals for each of these 3 levels top down:

  • Organisational Goals THEN
  • Manager or Team Goals THEN
  • Individual Goals

Problem #3 – Outdated? There is growing evidence for the fact that ‘Attainable’ and ‘Realistic’ don’t help to stretch our imagination – or at least don’t suit some personality types. In this day and age small businesses need every advantage they can get and having ‘realistic’ goals just doesn’t always cut it anymore

Solution #3 – Adopt this policy “Target your wildest dreams but measure performance based on past results”

What do you think? Let us know if you have had any experience – good or bad with SMART goals and objectives.

(1) A note on terminology – We have used the term ‘goals’ in this post to refer to goals, objectives and outcomes, all of which we use interchangeably

2 thoughts on “The 3 Big Problems With SMART Goals. And What You Can Do About It.

  1. Cameron

    Problem #2 is so common in large organisations and a lot of times the problems are with communication between management and the person carrying out the work. Good communication is essential.

    Reply
  2. francis woods

    “Target your wildest dreams but measure performance based on past results”
    This is the best piece of advice I have EVER heard in my life! I am so glad that I found your site; you really have a wealth of information for all of us!

    Reply

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