The SMART Solution: Stretch Goals

Photo of 3 men dressed in suits and costumes

Sometimes SMART goals aren’t enough. We can get too focused on short-term objectives and lose sight of the big picture of what we want in life.

How can you shake yourself out of a focus on short-term objectives? The answer is to innovate and grow by including stretch goals using SMART criteria. Simply focusing on SMART criteria won’t help you live up to your highest potential.

Stretch goals use dreams and ambitions to set career targets. In order for this process to be productive, the goal has to be really big with no real idea of how to get it accomplished. If you do know how to get it done, then it’s not really a stretch target.

Numerous studies have found that committing to ambitious, seemingly-out-of-reach targets can stimulate incredible results in innovation and productivity. A parallel concept is called “big, hairy audacious goals,” or BHAGS, proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

“A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.” ~ Collins and Porras, Built to Last

Goal setting is truly an effective way to grow and develop in life and in your career. But often we don’t see what’s possible beyond achieving some fixed number in the next few months. We don’t see what we can’t see or don’t know. That’s why my coaching clients [link] keep working with stretch goals.

Get smart about goals. Use the SMART criteria and include a stretch goal to grow into your potential.