By Bob Salvas
The word ‘smart’ seems to be everywhere these days. We all own ‘smart’ phones and many of us are now buying ‘smart’ televisions and
‘smart’ watches and a variety of other technology-enhanced devices. And we never get tired of hearing the phrase “work smarter, not
harder”, though many of us can’t seem to always make that happen.
SMART is also a word we might hear this time of year in relation to goal-setting. In this case, SMART is an acronym that stands for SPECIFIC,
MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT and TIME-BOUND.
The concept is a good one. One cannot just say, “I want good health” and expect to achieve that vague objective. A more detailed SMART
goal breaks it down into something that can be achieved. And yet, sometimes even this can fall short.
For example: Let’s say I set a SPECIFIC goal of going to the gym 3 times a week. I can easily MEASURE that goal by whether I go. The goal is
ATTAINABLE because I am physically able to go, and I have a gym membership. I can also make it TIME-BOUND by stating that I will go 3
times per week for 3 months in order to achieve my higher goal of better health. Why does this kind of detailed goal sometimes still fail?
Often, the reason is the ‘R’ in the SMART acronym. In other words, the goal may have met all the other requirements but simply may
not have been RELEVANT enough to who I am and what I care deeply about. I might intellectually understand the benefits of good health,
but relevance is a lot more about emotions than intellect. Put in another way, you cannot achieve ‘SOMETHING’ without first being the
kind of person who achieves that ‘SOMETHING’. You must BE before you can DO.
I am reminded of that old TV show THE BIGGEST LOSER where the contestants on the show were trying to lose a lot of weight. The personal
trainers always seemed to make a big deal out of the inner thoughts and emotions of the people on the show. The trainers knew that they
needed to get inside the heads of the contestants for them to make meaningful change. If they did not accomplish that change, even those
who achieved some weight loss might see that weight invariably come back.
How does all this apply to growing your business? All businesses are comprised of three main components: Operations; Sales & Marketing;
Financials. As a business owner, you might be setting business goals for the coming year that include an increase in your personal sales
activities. The question is: Are you the kind of person who can achieve those goals? If not, you either need to become that kind of person
or you need to hire someone who is that kind of person to do that activity for you. This takes a degree of honest self-examination.
It is safe to say that most business people go into business because they love what they do, and they are good at it (in other words it is
RELEVANT to them). But that same business person may not be good at the sales or in the accounting side of business. Ultimately that
person will have more business success by focusing on what they are good at and outsourcing the things they are not good at (and don’t
So, this year, when you set your business goals, keep RELEVANCE in mind. SMART may be the new BLACK (as they say in the fashion industry),
but SMART goals that don’t succeed are not that very ‘smart’ at all!
“Before you can achieve anything in life, you have to know what you want. You have to decide that whatever you’re
doing is important to you, that it’s worth it. And if it isn’t, it’s time to set new, more meaningful goals.” –Lydia Sweatt