One frustration I have with the SMART goals framework is it's emphasis on measurement. It's a sticking point that can lull you into feeling productive, even if you aren't progressing. It's something I discuss in my goal setting training and in this video.
I was recently coaching a client through a process designed to help her prepare for her annual performance review. When outlining her day-to-day tasks and high level responsibilities two words kept coming up - manage and track.
Managing and tracking are great examples of measurement. You know the stuff - compiling data, completing spreadsheets and counting the widgets. Don't misunderstand me; managing and tracking are important, especially when attached to a relevant business goal. But measurable and meaningful are two different things. And on it's own, measuring can be a major time suck that distracts from achieving meaningful action or progress.
As you look at your daily or your weekly goals or to-do lists, focus on what is meaningful and not just measurable. Getting on the scale is a measurable function of improving your health. You can track your weight from day to day. You can count how many days you weigh yourself. You can enter all of that glorious data into a spreadsheet or app. But none of these actions will actually have a meaningful impact on your actual health. For that, you might exercise, hydrate, get a physical, eat good food, take your meds, see a therapist, etc.
So back to my client...after our hour together, and a bit of challenging in this area, she was able to come up with some performance goals she was actually excited about. Imagine that! She got off the phone actually looking forward to the meeting with her manager - all because we moved from "managing and tracking" to meaningful action.
Maisha Hagan is the owner and head coach at Beauty & the Boss - a professional development and career coaching service for women in male-dominated industries.