Goals – Pt. 1 – SMART goals are DUMB…

dreamgoalsAs we start a new year, you’re likely reflecting on what you plan to accomplish this year. Your goal setting process is probably based on the SMART system of goal setting:

S – specific

M – measurable

A – attainable

R – realistic

T – timely

The problem with following this framework is that it does little to spark innovative approaches to complex challenges which are often messy, difficult to measure and initially perceived as unrealistic. SMART goals DO, in fact, reinforce the status quo. Today over on the Getting Smart blog, Tom Vander Ark wrote a short but provocative article on a competency-based approach to learning titled, Is it a teaching problem or a design problem? SMART goals won’t get us to this transformation in the educational system. SMART goals are too conservative for an audacious goal such as competency-based learning. We need something different.

Enter DUMB goals. I’ve recently become a fan of the motivation speaker Brendon Burchard. In one of his videos, he suggests ditching SMART goals for DUMB goals.

D – dream-driven (Dream big and align your goals to a greater vision.)

U – uplifting (Your goals should positively inspire!)

M – method-friendly (Good goals inspire you to create methods and practices to achieve them. If you can check it off, it’s a task, not a goal.)

B – behavior-triggered (Create a behavior trigger that reminds you to chase the goal – if you’re already doing behavior A, then adding behavior B right after will habitually move you toward your goal.)

Don’t like DUMB goals? Then maybe HARD goals make more sense. From author Mark Murphy:

H – heartfelt (You’ve got to have an emotional attachment to your goal, it has to scratch an existential itch.)

A – animated (Goals need to be motivated by a vision, picture or movie that plays over and over in your mind.)

R – required (It needs to feel so urgently necessary that you have no other choice but to start acting on them right here, right now.)

D – difficult (Goals need to drag you out of your comfort zone, activating your senses and attention.)

Now these frameworks encourage us to dream big. And that’s what we need in education right now. Whichever framework you prefer, let’s make the 2014-15 school year be the year we dump the SMART goal and the status quo. Live on the edge. Dream big. Take risks. Great things can happen! We don’t need more status quo…

What’s your dream? What are your goals for the new school year? Are they SMART, DUMB or HARD?


3 comments on “Goals – Pt. 1 – SMART goals are DUMB…

  1. Yeah, the problem with the ‘Realistic’ part of SMART goal-setting is that it confines you to uninspiring ways of operating and living. It doesn’t make your heart sing nor set you on fire.

    The DUMB and HARD goals acronyms are cool btw!

  2. Pingback: Goals – Pt. 2 – Some areas of focus… | Working at the edge

  3. Pingback: 4 Ways to Move Compliance to the Side of Your Plate | Working at the edge

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