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Aug. 23, 2023

Goal Setting Reloaded: Working Smarter, Not Harder, with SMART Goals

Goal Setting Reloaded: Working Smarter, Not Harder, with SMART Goals

Are you ready to harness the power of SMART goals? Join me, Heather Balcerek, as I take you on a refreshing journey, dispelling the complexities of goal setting and transforming it into an exciting, rewarding endeavor. I guarantee that by the end of this episode, you'll master the art of setting SMART goals. Trust me, the rewards of such strategic planning are monumental. From adding value to your work, balancing your workload, defining your success, to providing clarity, SMART goals enable you to work smarter and not harder. Plus, I'll share a personal revelation that underscores the efficiency and effectiveness of SMART goals. 

As we venture deeper, we'll tackle the critical task of measuring and understanding the attainability of sales goals. It's a fascinating exploration of how setting and measuring goals can propel your progress, and why it's absolutely indispensable, regardless of your field. Drawing from my own experiences, we'll trace back to the basics, to the origins of SMART goals, and the invaluable lessons I've learned. So, gear up and prepare to have your perspectives on goal setting and achievement completely transformed!

Laughter, Love, and Blessings, 


History of SMART Goals: https://cce.bard.edu/files/Setting-Goals.pdf

How We Lead Article: https://howwelead.org/2014/12/10/a-new-twist-on-smart-goals/

How Motivation helps in achieving goals: https://www.betterup.com/blog/how-motivation-helps-in-achieving-goals

A Fresh Look at SMART Goals: https://www.kenblanchardbooks.com/a-fresh-look-at-smart-goals/

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Speaker 1:

Goals increase your motivation, but you need the motivation to take steps toward your goals. This is a classic chicken and egg situation. Are you trying to be a better leader, Change industries, reset after a layoff, or just looking for ways to bring your whole self to work? Well, you're in the right place. Hello and welcome to the Connect the Dots podcast, where I am focused on helping you through these situations and more, by sharing real life stories and practical tips. I'm here to support you through coaching and mentorship, along with some amazing guests. Hello and welcome to Connect the Dots. Lead the Way. I'm your host, heather Balseric. I am a white female with short strawberry blonde hair. I am wearing tortoise shell glasses and a gray t-shirt. I'm standing in front of a teal wall with multiple pieces of art displayed and have a bookcase over to my right. In today's episode, we are going to talk about why we should set goals. We're going to look at the history of the smart goal. We're going to dive a little bit into motivation and then we're going to refresh our way of thinking about smart goals. I'm going to give you a little bit of the light bulb moment that I had a couple of weeks ago. So why should we set goals? Why are goals important? The Bard Center of Simple Engagement said that goal setting can be daunting but can be the key when executing a project and, once accomplished, goal setting provides a place for reflection to identify areas for future growth or change. And while this is talking specifically about goals at work goals, you have goals in all parts of your life, and the part where it talks about it provides a place for reflection and to identify areas of future growth or change. I think that's the key part with a goal, because you may not always hit your goal. Maybe you don't hit your goal in the time that you want to, or maybe you just don't hit the goal. Whatever it is, it's that opportunity to look back and say, oh, you know what, I could do it differently this time. I could do this a little bit differently. Or, oh, that was a really good way to do that. I need to make sure I do that going forward when I do something similar. That's probably part of the goal setting process that we don't do enough of is reflection, so maybe you will dive into that in the future, but let's stay right here right now as far as why goals are important and why we set goals. In this same article, they listed why set goals right. Because what can goal setting do? And so some of the things that they listed was it can add value to the work that you're doing. It can help disseminate the workload more evenly. It can allow you to assess your progress along the way, manage your time more effectively, which can diminish burnout or needless work. I talked about burnout in the mini series just last week, so if you did not listen to that episode, I encourage you, when you get done with this one, go back and find that one, because we really need to try to do anything that we can to diminish that burnout. Don't get to that point. But goals can define success, give you clarity in that they can demonstrate to your that your organization is going to provide meaning sorry, manageable task. And, last but not least, on their list, which I think is so funny but they will help you work smarter, not harder. Of all the things that could be in here, I thought it was so funny that they ended with work smarter, not harder. I say that probably a couple of times a week because it really is important, and the way that you work smarter, not harder, is when you are like trying to get to a goal, if you have a setback, or when you get done with the goal and you look back upon it. It's learning from those things. It's learning from what you might consider a failure. It's taking those and making them opportunities to get better. That's how goals help you work smarter, not harder. But the grand father of them all is the smart goal. Whenever you were probably taught how to write goals, you probably learned the smart method Probably I mean, it's the one that's most prevalent in my life and I never looked up to see like well, where did it come from? Who made it up Like any of that? But the um, that article from um, from the civil engagement group um, said that smart goals were developed by George Doran, arthur Miller and James Cunningham in their 1981 article there's a Smart Way to Write Management Goals and Objectives. And that article is older than me, so, uh, it's a wise wisdom. Uh is what we'll say, but I think about before I go into the acronym uh, cause you're all probably going. Okay, heather, we know what smart means, right, we're gonna go over it, though, when I think about the thing, the title of this article right, it's the smart way to write management goals and objectives. And I feel like, while smart goals are a great framework let me not take that out of context like smart goals are a great framework. I think it's funny how it's they started as management goals and objectives and how they kind of trickled into everywhere else and I don't know. I feel like there could be some tweaking and and and like how we do these things, and we'll come back around that to that at the end when I give you my light bulb moment that I had. But smart, what does it stand for? Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely. Uh, you may have also heard it as, um, the R being relevant versus realistic and the T being time bound versus timely. And you know, I don't remember at what point I learned about smart goals. Um, I want to say it was probably early in my sales career 2003, 2004. And we would have to write out our goals every month and we'd review them with our manager. Maybe, maybe not Um, but we had sheets, right, we had. I really remembered this and I wish I could find one and I would like link it out. Maybe I'll look for it. But, um, we had sheets that said right, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time, bound, like we would have to fill in these blanks every month on the different goals that we wanted to do. And as, of course, as I moved up into leadership, I continued this practice of having people write smart goals. Duh, because that's what you do, right, um? And if I look back, I'm pretty sure that one of the last trainings that I wrote just a year ago probably probably talked about writing smart goals. There, too, if, um, if you've never written a smart goal, or if you've ever found smart goal writing hard, because I'm going to raise my hand on that one um, I hated writing smart goals. Uh, they were daunting and difficult, they were terrible. Hated them, that's a strong word, but I did absolutely my least favorite thing I ever had to do was write smart goals, and I've done a lot of them over the past 20 years. Um, but let me give you an example of what a smart goal might have looked like when I was in sales. Um, so I sold um cell phones. Uh, so I worked in the wireless industry, and one of our goals was always accessories, because that's where they make their money. Um, so you had a goal to sell, like, um, like three, you know three accessories um to every phone, right? So your overall average, so maybe one person buys five accessories and one person just comes in and buys um one accessory, right, it's the six over the ones. That would be a six dot O ratio. We're going to say that math is right. Just go with me. Okay, um, but like typically um, our goal would be like three right, a three dot O accessory take rate. So when I would write out this smart goal, um specific right, I want to sell um so many accessories, um, in order to attain a three dot O accessory take rate, um, and so how this may look on the sheet, that was a terrible smart goal. Let me, sorry y'all, like I'm trying to think about this on the fly, but let's go Okay, specific, uh, the specific goal that I wanted to do, right, is attain a, an accessory take rate of three dot O. Is that measurable? How am I going to measure that goal? I'm going to measure that by um, you know, taking the number of accessories I sell and dividing it by the number of phones that I sell. And I will confirm that with our um, you know, our metric tracker, kpi tracker thing, uh, that the system automatically does Um, is this an attainable goal? Um, yes, this is an attainable goal. I've hit it before I can hit it again. Um, is it a relevant goal? I'm going to go with relevant over realistic here. Um, is it relevant? Well, yeah, I was in sales. Duh, I needed to sell those accessories because it made me more money, made the company more money? Uh, and then was it time bound? Yep, because that was my goal for the month. So, uh, that's kind of what it would look like on a sheet. Typically, that was we just fill in those boxes, talk about them with our manager. Are they good with it, are they not? What can we do? Um, and again, like I said, daunting, so daunting and so difficult and just, uh, I mean, if you've ever had to write smart goals like that, it feels terrible. I mean, maybe I'm. Just I don't think I'm the only person. If, if I'm the only person, I mean, I guess let me know. But I don't think so. If you also did not like writing smart goals, let me know. But stay with me because I'm gonna give you something at the end, my light bulb moment, that now I'm all about some smart goals. So stick with me. But before we get into this next part, I do wanna pause and say thank you. Thank you for listening to this podcast. I hope that you're enjoying it so far and if you are, could you take a quick moment and give it a rating or review? Or, if you've already done those things, could you share it with someone? I really would love to be in sharing reviews on the podcast. So if you would write me a little review, I will happily feature that on the upcoming episodes. So thank you in advance. Let's go into this next part and kind of flipping the script a little bit on the smart goal, and so this is the first piece. This is like the light bulb moment for me. This is like the switch like turned on with the electrical current hadn't gotten to the light bulb yet. Okay, but I went through situational leadership too, which is a Blanchard course. I went through that a couple of weeks ago and this is where these things started to like just blow my mind. And Blanchard, he changed a couple of the letters, like what the letters mean, and the first one they changed was M. So that was measurable, right. He changed it to motivating, and then he took the T and changed it from timely to trackable. And when I think about, like the definition of a smart goal before, like the example that it gave you of like trying to hit a certain accessory take rate number, that was not motivating at all, like there was nothing about that goal that made me excited, nothing about that made me wanna go out and sell some accessories. So I am I'm on board with this change. Blanchard, thank you of changing measurable to motivating and adding in adding in this piece of motivation really helps keep you focused on attaining that goal. Then changing timely to trackable, that reinserts the measurable piece back into the word smart. Because if something is trackable, that implies a timeline, it implies that there are milestones, there's something kind of keeping you on pace because you're having to track it. And I wanna talk about motivation here for just a second, because motivation is definitely a it's a big part of goals, and I found an article on Better Up called how Motivation Helps in Achieving Goals and it was written by Erin Ita and she said motivation is best described as the process that drives you to perform a task or behavior. It's that feeling where you feel compelled to complete your goal. And then there are two types of motivation that she writes about in the article. These are ones that we act on every single day. The first one is extrinsic motivation, and this refers to external factors that drive you toward the goal, and it could be a paycheck, it could be the fear of not getting a paycheck if you're in commission. It could be, you know, a positive or a negative motivation, but it's something outside. She gives the example here of think about, like if, when you're a student, achieving a good grade is a positive motivator and avoiding the failing grade is a negative one, right, you fear getting a low grade, so you're gonna try to achieve a good grade. Intrinsic motivation this focuses on the internal factors that encourage you, and so this might be something that you're passionate about, something you're trying to accomplish for your own benefit. And so think about this as, like you wanna run a marathon, right, you want to accomplish that for your own benefit. I don't know of anybody that's most everybody I know that's run a marathon or run long distances, including myself when I ran, but you know it was for my own benefit, it wasn't for anybody else, it wasn't. I wasn't, you know, scared of somebody. You know like failing something or whatever. So for me, like running the 10K right. That came from inside. That was an internal motivation. It was intrinsic Goals also, they can. This was one of my favorite quotes from the article. I think it's fantastic. So she wrote goals increase your motivation, but you need the motivation to take steps toward your goals. This is a classic chicken and egg situation. She's 100% correct. She talks about, like it's hard to know which comes first because neither of them do. Setting a goal right, she said, it may motivate you, but you might feel motivated to set the goal, and failing to achieve a goal has been proven to hinder your motivation and self-esteem, and setting and achieving realistic goals is crucial to keeping your brain motivated and focused. Oh, okay, man, like it's. Like it is kind of the chicken, the egg, like where's the? You know where's the ball under the cup? Kind of situation. Here, both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation help you achieve your goals right. They each have a specific role, though, and so she says external motivators are great for achieving short-term and long-term milestones, and you can reward yourself each time you reach, like, a fitness goal or you nail a presentation at work. Intrinsic motivators, though, those are needed for those long-term commitments, those you know it's. You know very, I think about running a marathon. That's. I don't know why this is on my mind today. I'm not going to run in the marathon. Oh, I didn't run marathon. Sorry, anyways, I digress, but like. So she says here, like external motivators, rewarding yourself each time you reach a fitness goal, and I think that's. You know, if you, if you think about running a marathon, maybe part of an external motivator would be getting that medal, like, especially if you run like an iconic one or something like the Boston Marathon or the New York City Marathon, the Chicago Marathon right, those are like pretty iconic races and so like that's. You know that's a reward, that's an external reward. But to get you there you had to have that intrinsic motivator, that internal one, because that's a long-term commitment. I most people could not just pick up today and say I'm going to go run a marathon and off they go. That's a long term commitment, getting there. So you've got to. You've got to take both of these into account because they both serve a very specific role. I want to go. I want to talk a little bit more, though, about the chicken and the egg thing. My notes were out of order, so my apologies. When she said in here about you that setting a goal might help motivate you, but you might feel motivated to set the goal right, and then failing to achieve the goal has been proven to hinder your motivation and self-esteem. Absolutely Like that. That can man. It can knock you down if you are trying to hit a goal and you don't hit it. It can absolutely like set you back a little bit. It can maybe hit yourself a steam a little bit. The part about that, though, is that if we go back to the very beginning of the podcast, when I talked about the reflection part, where you grow and change, that's what happens then. That's how you get your motivation, your self-esteem back. Is you look back and say what could I've done differently, what else could make this easier when I do this the next time? And then, from there, you set another goal, you set a realistic goal right, you set small goals. You get that self-esteem, that motivation comes back, and it keeps you motivated and focused. So it is kind of this like the circle thing you can't have one without the other. I don't want to get us completely off course here and diving into motivation, so I'm going to put a pin in it for right now, but I'll make sure that I talk through this a little bit more in an upcoming episode. If you are not following or subscribed to the podcast at this time, please do so now. It's just a little follow button on Apple. It's a check mark on Spotify. If you're over there on the YouTube, you can hit the little subscribe button and the notification bell Make sure you don't miss an episode. You can also subscribe to the newsletter and that will get you the podcast right in your email every time it comes out. All, right back on track, let's go. So. The change of measurable to motivating and timely to trackable that wasn't the main game changer. Like I said, that kind of like that started that like flip the switch, but the electrical current that made the light bulb go off this is the game changer is to think about smart goals, but you want to reorder the letters and you want to make them stram goals. It doesn't quite roll off the tongue like smart goals, but think what you think about stram goals. And so there's an article from Blanchard and oh my gosh, I think it was written in. Oh my God, I think I even oh, there it is. I was like did I close it? This is written in 2014. So this, this is an older, older article, but this is where this comes from, so I know it's been around for a long time. Why did I? Where did I miss this? I missed this. Okay, from this Blanchard article. He writes the leaders should describe the specific goal and when and how often that needs to be accomplished, and then the leader needs to make sure that goal is trackable. Right, how will progress or performance be tracked or measured? So those are the first two things specific, trackable. Those are the two things that you need and there are two examples in this article that he that he gives. The first one is produce monthly financial reports. Is that a stram goal? Or at least the ST is at the st part of the goal no, so let's make this a little bit more specific and trackable Submit accurate and timely financial reports on a bi-monthly basis for the next 12 months, as measured by end user feedback. So that gives the S and the T the specific and the trackable. So the specific here was submitting accurate and timely financial reports, and then the trackable part is we're gonna submit them on a bi-monthly basis for the next 12 months and then, once you have those two things in place the specific and the trackable, then the leader and the team member, or you and your manager, or you just in general, if you're sending them for yourselves. This is when you review the three other elements relevant, attainable and motivating. Those are the three things that help you check to see if the goal is truly smart. This is the part that blew my mind, because hearing it said like this let me say this again once the S and T are in place, then you can review the other three elements relevant, attainable and motivating to check if the goal is truly smart. Do you know what that means? This is what it meant to me. All I ever needed to do was write down the S and the T. That's all I ever needed, and then I just needed to follow up and make sure that it was relevant, attainable and then measurable. Motivating you mean to tell me I wasted all that paper and all that time and all that brainpower and writing all of these things that I didn't need to. That was this was the light bulb for me, and maybe it's not for you and that's okay, but this for me, this is when it hit home, because this makes it so much easier. It's easier to explain. It's easier to decide if it's a smart goal. I mean literally. I remember in classes learning about smart goals and we would have to figure out is this a smart goal? And they would put something up on the board. We had to do that stuff. But with this you don't have to do that. Put out the specific goal, make sure it's trackable and then you check the other three items and if the other three items are there, then it's a smart goal, and if they're not, you gotta figure out how to put it there. So it is a truly smart goal. The article goes on to say that the leader has the responsibility for making sure that the goal is relevant by ensuring that the goal is important and then accomplishing the goal will make a difference in the organization. Absolutely, especially if you're. If this is a leader team member type of conversation in setting these goals is the leader is responsible for making sure that that goal is relevant to the business. It's going to help that person accomplish something that will help the business. And then he says the leader and team member will work together to make sure the goal is attainable. Right, is it realistic and achievable? It has to be those two things, and when a goal is too difficult to accomplish, people may give up, and when it's too easy, people may procrastinate. So you have to work together to make sure that it's attainable. And that's a conversation. That's simply, I think, about recent conversations I've had with my team and I will. We'll go over like here's what I've asked you to do Can you get this to me by this date? Is that attainable? And we had that discussion and then maybe, if it's kind of a little bit of a bigger thing, you know, we may say, okay, well, let me break, let's break it down and let's have a checkpoint here for this and then make that the final date. So working together with your leader in the work setting to make sure that goal is attainable is really, really key. And then, ultimately, each team member is going to determine for themselves if the goal is motivating Right by considering if it is exciting and meaningful Right. Will this goal well, working toward this goal drain energy from their work experience or will it add enjoyment? Will the goal help build competence, relationships or autonomy Right? Is the goal going to get them up in the morning to come to work? Not every goal does that, I'm gonna be honest. Sometimes the motivation is just I need to get it done. Because I have to, I need to get it off my plate. Sometimes that's the meaningful part of a goal when you get down to like some nitty gritty things. But having the conversations and knowing your part in setting the goal in the workplace is truly, truly important. So I got a couple of examples I'm gonna give you in a second, but I wanna we're gonna cover this one more time. For those of you who are maybe driving washing dishes, anything like that, where you know maybe you're not yeah, you do, like me, when I do a podcast, I listen to podcasts when I'm, you know, washing dishes and folding laundry and you know walking around the house, like that's when I do it. I don't always have my pen and paper, so let me circle back around. So, in a business setting, so at work. So, leaders, leaders and teams, when you are setting goals, you want to first make sure they are specific and trackable. Once you have those, then you want to review the three other elements together to make sure that it's a truly smart goal. And, leaders, you're going to be the one that makes sure that that goal is relevant for your team member and then, together with your team member, you're going to make sure that it's attainable, that it's not going to be too much or too little on their plate with everything else that they have going on. And then, team members, it's your responsibility to make sure that it's motivating. And if it's not, you got to speak up Like, well, give me a why. What's in it for me? What can, what will make me motivated about this goal that I need to accomplish? So there's another article that was came from the website kimblanchardbookscom. There's lots of Blanger websites, by the way. I think it's kind of funny. I found multiples when I was doing this research. I'm going to start with the organizational goal first and I'm going to work backwards when I give these from the article this was written by oh again, hi again, thanks for writing the article. So the organizational goal example that he gives is confirm that 90% of team members have completed new inventory management software training for the end of the third quarter. The goal is specific. The company knows exactly what they need to do and when they when they want it. It's trackable 90 people will, or 90% of people will need to complete the training by the deadline of the third quarter. It's relevant, it's right, it's important for the entire team to merge together on this new platform, which is, you know, more efficient than their current platform. Is it attainable? Well, a majority of the people have already completed it, right, so it's, it's web based, it's easily accessible. So, yeah, it's attainable to get the rest of them, you know, trained up. And is it motivating? Oh my gosh, we're eager for better productivity. Right, listen, we're motivated to get the rest of the team train because it helps with productivity. So it's very, it's. This is very. This is a very easy goal. It feels like a very bland goal, but it's. It's exactly what we need for like an organizational goal. Right, confirm that 90% of the team members have completed a new inventory management software training for the end of the third quarter. If you would have asked me three weeks ago, was this a smart goal? I would have told you no. I would have told you no, but today I'm telling you it absolutely is. Let's, we're going to get, we're going to back this down here. Let's talk about a career related goal, and so this is another example from this article that Ken wrote, and it says I will earn a promotion to senior customer service representative by completing the required training modules in three months and applying for the role at the end of the next quarter. So, the goal specific right, the person knows exactly what they want and when they want it. It's trackable. They got training that they need to complete in three months and then they're going to apply for the job. The file, the following quarter. It's relevant right, the it's important to rise to a new level for them. Right, it's going to make a difference in their income and their stature. It's attainable. Right, the training will first provide the skills to qualify for them, them for their promotion, and then it's motivating. It's an exciting career move, it's a new challenge, it's higher pay. So, yeah, this is absolutely a smart goal. Right, I will earn a promotion to senior customer service representative by completing the required training modules in three months and applying for the role at the end of the quarter. Like that's super, super simple and super smart. Now let's talk about personal goals, because we've talked about this a lot in the, in the aspect of leadership and development, that type of thing. And so in a personal goal, there is a he says from an example from from a book and that he wrote with, uh, with someone, and so, um, the goal mentioned somebody's name, so just, I'm just going to say their name. It's just, it's all makes sense, Don't worry. Um so uh. He says now this, this goal is rather long, but it is smart. Um so uh, the smart goal here for a personal goal right In one year, through an effective eating plan and exercise program with guidance, support and progress tracking from Tim, I will weigh less than 200 pounds. I will gain one inch in height through posture specific exercises, reduce my next circumference and chest circumference by one inch, reduce my waist measurement by five inches and my hip measurement by four, and get rid of my fat pants. Oh, my goodness, so this was actually. This was. This was a book. This was a book. This was a goal that that Ken actually had for himself, um, and I think it's great that he shared it and he's right, it's a little bit long, but it's very specific and it's very trackable and it's got those like kind of those milestones in there. Um, that can keep him motivated, um can keep him focused on the attainability of the goal and the fact that it is very relevant, um to what he wants to do. He wants to be healthier. I love that. I really feel like I needed that. I need to write a goal. That specific, goodness gracious, okay, um, now, uh, you've uh, right, so you're. So this is, you know, back to like that light bulb moment, right, with the change to motivating from measurable, uh, that light switch flipped, the electrical current went to the light bulb and it said dang, you only have to write down specific and trackable. You just need to make sure that those words are relevant, attainable and motivating to you. That's my light bulb moment Absolutely, wow, wow. I mean, oh, man, and you know, maybe I wasn't writing in all of the goal every time, uh, but thinking of the goal in order, of smart, right, it can, it can easily throw you off base, Um, when you're, when you're trying to write it down. But when you move to that other method of SRAM or ST RAM, um, you get to focus on the action and then you're checking in to make sure that you're really meeting the second part, um, you could even think of it like a smart sandwich, right, cause you have specific and trackable. Are your? Are your buns, um, and so? So the meat in the middle, right? What makes that sandwich, um, so good is the relevant, attainable and motivating parts. So how about that? I like that analogy. I like a good sandwich, um, so, yeah, so there you go. You can think about it, uh, one of two ways, but specific and trackable are the first two things that you need to think about. And then make sure that it is relevant, attainable and motivating. If you have those three things in what you wrote down, then you have a smart goal. Uh, setting goals. Bring this back together, right? Setting goals is important, but if you aren't taking that time to make sure you meet that criteria of smart, you're not going to get very far. Make sure you're checking in regularly, um, on your motivation. Uh, and you know you're, you're checking in at those little checkpoints. Keep yourself motivated to attain that goal. Keep reflecting back and learning, uh, from the things that you've done. That's going to wrap it up for today's topic. Please make sure that you've signed up for the newsletter so you can get a copy of this episode, of this episode. Well, you're listening, uh, a copy of any episode that I put out, delivered right to your inbox. If you go to the polkadeskcom, there's a sign up box right on the main page. Bing, uh, that is the polkadeskcom, um, and make sure that you connect with me on LinkedIn or on Instagram. You can get there from the links in the description or from the website. What is that again? The polkadeskcom? Uh, and I'll be back in two weeks with another episode to help you connect the dots and lead the way. And until then, remember that you're loved, you're worthy and there are great things ahead for you in this life If you trust and believe in the Lord. Bye.