Set CLEAR goals instead of SMART goals

Life Lessons

Set CLEAR goals instead of SMART goals

Let me tell you about my friend, Adam Kreek. An entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Adam is a guy who knows a lot about setting goals. Not only did he and his rowing team win a gold medal for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, but he and three other rowers came within a few days of successfully rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. Sadly, their boat was capsized 73 days after they left the shore of Africa.

More on that story in a moment. First, a refresher on SMART goals: The SMART acronym has been used in business for years. SMART describes the key elements of effective goals:

  • Specific — Goals are clear and unambiguous.
  • Measurable — Results can be measured in some way, such as the percent increase in sales, or the number of employees trained.
  • Attainable — Goals are realistic and attainable by the average worker.
  • Relevant — Goals relate to your organization’s vision and mission.
  • Time-bound — Goals have definite starting and ending points, and a fixed duration.

The idea of SMART goals is useful but not as relevant as it once was in today’s faster, more agile business environment. According to Adam, today’s businesses need new ways of setting goals, and CLEAR goals do just that.

  • Collaborative — Goals encourage employee teamwork and collaboration.
  • Limited — Goals are limited in both duration and scope.
  • Emotional — Employees are emotionally connected to the goals.
  • Appreciable — Large goals can be broken down into smaller goals so they can be accomplished more quickly and easily for long-term gain.
  • Refinable — Flexibility. Give yourself permission to refine and modify your goals, even if they’re set with a headstrong objective.

Back to our story: Adam explains, “When we prepared for our Atlantic crossing, our higher goal was to cross the Atlantic Ocean, but we also created three rules to support that higher goal. The first rule was don’t die, the second rule was don’t kill your mates, and the third was don’t sink your boat. So, look after yourself, look after each other, and look after your equipment.”

When you set a business, career or life goal, remember to be SMART. But most of all, remember to be CLEAR.

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