Goal Setting: Why Clear is the New Smart Way to Think

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By Kristyn Ramsey

Marie Kondo. Whole 30. Peloton. For many of us it starts January 1 and ends by February…in fact 80% of New Year’s resolutions have failed by February. Why is that? Why is it that we are so passionate about something and then just like that, poof, we are out? The answer: we must align our inspiration and goals, which leads to positive and effective change, and we don’t know how to do that!

How do you take an idea or thought that inspires you and turn it into a goal that sticks?

Maybe you’ve heard of SMART goals. It’s the way I was raised in business and how our company has traditionally approached goal setting. The way we’ve always done it. We know that just because “it’s the way we’ve always done it” certainly doesn’t mean it’s way we should be doing it…whatever “it” is.

Here’s what we know about SMART goals: they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and tangible.

Simple enough, right?

However, business is changing. LPC is changing. Our goals are changing. Moreover, the way we look at goal setting needs to change as well. You say change is hard, I say change is imperative. You say change is hard, I say change keeps you relevant. Change helps you grow. Change challenges you and gets you out of your comfort zone. You say change is hard, I say change is critical. To change there must be a vision, and a vision requires a goal.

“The problem with SMART goals is that they just haven’t kept up with the fast, more agile environment that most businesses find themselves in today,” says Peter Economy of INC. Magazine.

CLEAR is the new SMART.

CLEAR gives us a new way of setting goals that allows us to adjust and reassess along the way to better meet our desired outcome and create a sustainable, positive change.

CLEAR goals are:

Collaborative – Goals should encourage our teams to work together.

Limited – Goals should be limited in both scope and duration. No #forevergoals.

Emotional – Goals should make an emotional connection with employees, which will tap into their energy and passion.

Appreciable – Large goals should be broken down into smaller goals, which in turn gives us more wins along the way.

Refinable – Set goals with a steadfast objective, but as new information comes into play allow yourself the flexibility to modify along the way.

There you have it. Not radically different from the SMART goal system that we know. I think that for me the biggest difference is the ability to emotionally connect with the goals and have the freedom to refine. One of my favorite movies is Planes, Trains and Automobiles and one of my favorite lines in the movie talks about a lifestyle of adaptability and being able to go with the flow, “Like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream”. I love the idea of being able to refine, tweak and go with the flow when my goals are in need of editing.

So what’s “it” for you? What is something that you desire in your career, for yourself or your team that is in need of clarity? As you reflect on your goals of the past, what would you change to make them more sustainable for your future?

Adam Kreek, curator of CLEAR goals says it best, “When you set a goal, whether in business or life, it must be a clear and compelling statement – one that can be built out, embraced by, and acted upon by every member of your team.”

So the next time change is on the horizon (which is always sooner than we think), no matter what the change is and how hard it looks at the onset, think about setting CLEAR goals to turn your inspiration and vision into reality.

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