People have been talking about SMART goals for a long time. However, if your goals are only Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Restricted, there is a very good chance you will NOT achieve them.
There are five obstacles that are like an invisible fence that stands between leaders and their goals. When leaders address and overcome these five obstacles, they tend to achieve exceptional and often extraordinary results.
However, when leaders do not address and overcome these five obstacles, they tend to produce results that are satisfactory or mediocre at best.
Obstacle #1: Goals are NOT EXCITING.
The first invisible obstacle leaders encounter is their goals simply are not exciting to the people who have to achieve them.
People only pursue goals they want to pursue because of What Is In It For Them. Individuals will not put forth significant efforts towards goals they do not believe are worthy of their pursuit.
Many leaders do not realize the power here.
Exciting goals that individuals really want to achieve are more motivating than other types of rewards and incentives. In addition, difficult but achievable goals produce greater performance improvement and results than easy goals.
Obstacle #2: Goals are INCOMPLETE.
The second invisible obstacle leaders encounter is more often than not their goals are undeveloped and not fully designed.
Most leaders overlook or are not even aware of this very significant obstacle.
In order to achieve the results you desire, you have to take time to think about the important alternatives, make choices, and then design your goals completely.
Obstacle #3: Goals are FUZZY and VAGUE.
The third invisible obstacle leaders encounter is their goals typically are fuzzy or vague, or they conflict with other priorities and alternatives.
Our brains need precise information to work. We must have clear choices. We have to see in our minds what we want to achieve.
Once a leader has a compelling and complete goal he or she wants to achieve, the next step is to sharpen the details so the goal itself and its priority of importance are unmistakable.
Obstacle #4: There is NO BUY-IN or it is weak.
The fourth invisible obstacle leaders encounter is the buy-in and resolve of the people who must pursue their goals often are low, tentative, conditional, soft, or nonexistent.
Without commitment, there is no accountability. Without accountability, there is no power for goal achievement.
If a leader is serious about achieving his or her goals, then he or she must get serious about getting firm and unconditional commitments from the people who are to achieve the goals.
Obstacle #5: PEOPLE FORGET the goals and LOSE FOCUS.
The fifth invisible obstacle leaders encounter is the least understood of all the obstacles, and yet it is the most important.
We live in a world of “goal clutter.” People have so much to do and so much going on. They literally forget the goals they are supposed to be pursuing or they get distracted and lose their focus.
When this occurs, instead of concentrating on achieving the desired goals, individuals spend their time on low-producing and non-producing activities.
People will not pursue what they do not recall and they cannot recall what they have not put into long-term memory.
In order for people to stay focused on goals, they must “learn” those goals. This means leaders must take time to teach their goals to others and take steps to keep their goals top of mind.