We’ll I’ve been hearing/reading about SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals for ever now. Inspite of the fact that they keep on drilling them in our minds and making sure we’re all abiding by those 5 words to draw our plans, projects and visions…I still don’t really feel completely convinced.
When talking about what I want to achieve, when talking about what I’m planning to work on in my organizations..I don’t think I always have “SMART” goals in mind…infact rarely do I start with those “SMART” goals to rally people and inspire them …rarely do I recruit volunteers to assist by telling them “we’re going to improve X by 30% and remove 11% of the hurdles in the coming 4 months” …that really doesn’t excite me…doesn’t push me to explore new grounds…they’re good on paper…good for diagrams and figures…but they rarely inspire me…or others.
Most of the time they actually limit us…they are a repetition of what we’ve done earlier…we tend to take the safe road …putting down numbers and deadlines that we feel comfortable about…that we know match our current resources…our current skills…
After reading a book called “Hundred Percenters” by Mark Murphy I’d like to suggest a new kind of Goals… HARD Goals…and by HARD I mean Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult…here’s why…
Heartfelt: Whenever I have something that touches me…that instills some feelings in me…its then that I start thinking of starting something new…its then that I feel a bigger purpose driving me… whether its empowering youth, helping children, guarding the environment, or starting a new business initiative…its that noble cause..that idea that clings to my heart that makes me start dreaming.
Animated: How many times do we get goals that practically mean nothing to us…that we can’t really imagine or envision …imagine if Martin Luther King, Jr. had stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said:
Our goal should be that within the next 30 years, the incidents of hate crimes will be reduced by 63% and
that the percentage of minorities living below the poverty line will be no higher than the percentage for any other racial group.
How’s that for an inspirational speech? exciting? does it rally anyone? I don’t think so…infact I’m glad he said:
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Now that’s something both inspiring and imaginable …I can really look forward to ….no numbers…no deadlines…nothing “SMART” bout it…yet it really left an impact…
Required: How about all those “SMART” goals that if achieved, or not achieved, they might not really matter…life will not end at their door-steps. I don’t want my goals to just be a vision of a nicer future…I want them to be necessary…I want to show people that they are required and must be done…that those goals cover certain current or future needs and that by achieving them, life will really be better…tomorrow will be brighter.
Difficult: Yes you read it right..I want them to be difficult…I want them to be challenging. I don’t want those “achievable and realistic” goals…Some say that very difficult goals are demotivating…I say everything is feasible and every problem has a solution. Anyway, how difficult is difficult? well not much…come to think about it …what resources will you need? what new skills will you have to learn? …Personally if I’m not learning new things all the time and if I’m not pushing myself and others to be better…do things they never thought they can do before…achieve the dreams that once were impossible…then my goals are not difficult enough!
In the end, when talking about those HARD goals to whoever my audience/ team/ stakeholders/ beneficiaries are … I want them to drool over them…I want their hearts to throb for them…I want to see their eyes widen up…and to get their minds hard at work to figure out how and where to start….
So from now on…I will be using HARD goals..I hope you do to!
Other Interesting Posts:
- Knowing the Past to Understand the Present and Plan for the Future
- Appreciating the Value of Friends and Loved Ones
- Creating Organizational Structures that Work
- NGOs, Project Management & Serendipity
- Human Capital Management in NGOs
- 5 Dos & Don’ts of Leading Volunteers
- A Conundrum: Optimism & Reality
- My Two Cents on Leadership
- Ideas to Actions