Are Your SMART Goals Qualitative or Quantitative?

MissionEveryone has heard the saying “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. There are great models to follow for achieving goals, such as the SMART model: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. All these elements are important for quantifiable results; they indicate successes and opportunities for improvement. These models also provide a source of motivation for people and teams within the organization.

However, somewhere in our modern business world we have lost the value of achieving those qualitative goals the inspirational goals leaders once created with the people they led. These are known as organisational vision and mission statements that gave people a sense of personal purpose and added meaning to their daily work.

In the world of high-performance athletics, great athletes have always used big vision goals. It could be becoming world-class in their particular sport. Often “big vision” goals serve as a source of motivation and inspiration when an athlete starts moving towards achieving their vision.

Neurological research shows when the brain is focused on positive goals with a big vision, innovation and creativity starts to flourish. Given the nature of our modern day business climate, I don’t know of any organization that wouldn’t benefit from being more innovative and efficient. Here are a few suggestions on how to bring back meaningful and actionable visionary goals to our modern day work world.

Blend vision and mission statements.

Vision statements for an organization often serve as a great way to guide an organization over a period of time, say 2-5 years. With the rapid pace of change and competition within a global marketplace, mission statements need to address “the how” over a shorter period of time. Both vision and mission statements serve a great purpose in motivating people and teams within an organization when these statements are created smartly and lived by.

Create individual and SMART goals.

Very often in our organizations we know the organization’s vision and mission statements. They sound motivating, but then people can become unmotivated as they go about their daily “doing” of the work. This leaves them with a sense of not seeing that vision in action. When developing SMART goals, try creating a personal or team vision statement – something that creates a sense of personal meaning and links to the organization’s vision and mission. By doing this, you will be surprised how the levels of motivation will increase across your organizations.

Link SMART Goals.

I personally like the process of setting and achieving SMART goals. One thing I did learn in my athletic career is the importance of linking SMART goals to a personal vision or higher level unquantifiable big goal. This linking enables people and teams to have a greater sense of purpose when achieving SMART goals.

Living in a culture focused on “fast” performance results, we have become myopic in our approach to establishing and accomplishing goals. When the main focus is just showing measurable results, we often overlook the intrinsic value and impact of high level goals on people’s performance.

All the best in achieving your highest performance.


Image courtesy of basketman /