In the business world, we’ve been trained to set SMART goals. But are SMART goals always WISE?
SMART Goals are:
• Realistic and
There’s value in that. “SMART” goals have helped many people move from vague unattainable goals to clear, specific action, leading to the attainment of powerful goals.
The problem with SMART thinking is that it has a tendency to limit instead of inspire.
SMART goals can work against you.
• They can work against you if you neglect to write them and keep them fresh.
• They can work against you if they’re isolated from other important parts of your life.
• They can work against you if they conflict or compete.
• They can work against you if they lack spirit and conviction.
To avoid these pitfalls, make sure your goals are both SMART and WISE.
‘WISE’ stands for:
• Synergistic, and
WISE goals supplement the clear, specific action of SMART goals by connecting them to a grander vision of who you are and who you aspire to be.
Here’s an overview to guide you in setting WISE goals.
The “W” in “WISE” stands for “written.” Writing your goals is a critical step – and one many people miss. Writing forces you to be clear in your thinking. It allows you to look at your plans with objectivity. It instills commitment and puts your thoughts in a durable form you can revisit again and again.
The “I” in “WISE” stands for “integrated.” Integrating your ideas means bringing them together in the same place so you can look at them all at once. Allow your personal and professional lives to intermingle. It’s okay if right under “increase profit share” you have “get a kitten.” They both improve your quality of life. They both contribute to your definition of success. You get to have it all. There are no rules. You make it up.
The “S” in “WISE” means “synergistic.” Whereas integrating your goals means bringing them together, synergizing means making them work together. Synergy happens when one idea advances another. Keeping a vision of what you want in mind when you think about your goals will help create that synergy. You really lose something when you decouple your goals from your vision; they become just another prioritized list.
The most powerful and peaceful way to think about your efforts is to see how they can coalesce into one complete vision for your life.
The “E” in WISE stands for “Expansive.” Think big. Your goals should inspire you to stay on the path to your dreams, not lock you into a pattern of ticking off bite-sized action items from here to retirement.
This may be the biggest differentiator between SMART and WISE thinking. Spending too much time and energy boxing your objectives into a hard and fast formula can squeeze the life right out of them. Some examples:
SMART GOAL– Schedule team-building and strategic planning off-site by end of January
WISE GOAL –Transform my staff into a team of inspired, empowered partners
SMART GOAL – Leave work by 6:00 p.m. three times a week, organize my office and work with my assistant to find new planning system within one month from today
WISE GOAL – Feel in control of my life
SMART GOAL – Go on a date with my wife at least twice a month and tell her why I appreciate her at least once a day starting August 3rd
WISE GOAL – Fall in love again
The best goals are both “smart” and “wise.” SMART thinking gives your goals specificity. WISE thinking gives them heart.
To summarize, although SMART goals make sense, your goals must also be WISE. In the words of Abraham Maslow, “When we free ourselves from the constraints of ordinary goals and uninformed scoffers we will find ourselves ‘roaring off the face of the earth.”
In The Inner Edge: The Extension, you’ll find a complete review of SMART and WISE goals, along with a worksheet to transform your current goals into powerful commitments. Click here to see a preview or to purchase The Extension. Or, go to www.TheInnerEdge.com and click on The Extension.
Please join us for The Inner Edge Book Club! This month we will be working with SMART and WISE goals so that you will approach your life and leadership with better focus – and better results. For more information, click here or email info@TheInnerEdge.com.