You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, but have you ever thought that they might be holding you back?
SMART goals are great, but they can make you so overly fixated on the numbers and metrics that you might miss out on the other important stuff that can’t be measured.
What about the creative and out-of-the-box thinking that can take you to new heights? It’s time to be innovative with your goals!
Why settle for average, when you could be legendary?
What Are the Limitations of SMART Goals?
Kasey Jones’ viral tweet shook up the traditional approach to goal setting with a bold statement:
“Forget SMART goals. Give me something outrageous, audacious, and life-altering!”
While the SMART goal-setting formula—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound—has been the go-to for achieving results, it has been challenged by various individuals, industry leaders, and even researchers on the basis that it could limit potential success. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon says,
“Our approach will involve daring experiments, recognizing that not all of them may yield the desired results. However, refusing to attempt anything unless guaranteed success will only limit the potential opportunities available to us.”
It turns out that the SMART approach might not be so smart after all, according to Swann et al.’s research.
They pointed out some flaws in the acronym, like how “measurable” and “specific” can seem pretty similar. And do we really need both “realistic” and “achievable”? Seems like we’re just saying the same thing twice. Plus, a goal doesn’t necessarily have to be extremely specific to be effective!²
Overall, the SMART approach has been found lacking because:
1. It narrows focus.
Most of the time, the SMART approach can get you wrapped up in numbers and deadlines, and you forget to check different angles. It’s like zooming in so close to the details that you miss the whole beautiful picture.
2. It limits creativity.
When organizations or individuals concentrate solely on one specific outcome, it can make their team afraid to explore new ideas or take risks. This can seriously hold back innovation and make it difficult to adapt to new situations.
3. It limits possibilities.
Who wants to color within the lines all the time? By setting only achievable goals, both individuals and organizations risk missing out on the chance to think outside the box and blaze new trails.
Sure, it’s comfortable and familiar, but is it really the best path for growth and innovation? What’s more—you might even neglect the qualitative factors because you’re too focused on certain numbers!
So, don’t just write SMART goals, go BHAG!
BHAG: The Audacious Goal-Setting Path
“You don’t have to set SMART goals to obtain optimal outcomes. Rather, they should be challenging.”—Locke & Latham.²
Since SMART goals can be limiting, BHAG compels you to set challenging goals and strategize for lasting achievements. To go the BHAG way, your goals need to be:
1. Big or out of the box —thinking big helps you set goals so big that it takes your organization years of continuous creativity to accomplish them.
2. Hairy or forward-looking—this fuels the passion of your team to think creatively and innovate fresh ideas into reality.
3. Audacious or daring—It should have what we call a “gulp factor” which means that when people hear it for the first time, it may seem impossible.
4. Goal or articulated—enough to get you and your team fired up.
Classical Audacious Goals Examples
What exactly does BHAG look like?
1. Back in 1990, Walmart set a goal to become worth a staggering $125 billion by the year 2000. And guess what? They crushed that goal, with a market valuation surpassing $125 billion by 2000! Today, they’re worth over $400 billion.
2. In 1950, Boeing set out to be the leader in the commercial aircraft industry and make jet aviation a thing. Today, they’re one of the leading manufacturers of commercial aircraft in the world! Not bad, right?
3. Moving on to individuals, Mark Zuckerberg set a challenging objective in 2008 to get 1 billion active users on Facebook worldwide by 2012. And you know what? Facebook achieved that goal two years before the deadline! They used some pretty cutting-edge technology and marketing tactics to get there.
4. Jeff Bezos had a vision in 2016 to make his company the most customer-focused company in the world. And today, Amazon has made huge strides in customer service, with things like Amazon Prime Now for lightning-fast grocery delivery, and Alexa voice-activated technology to make purchasing items easy.
5. In 2010, several tech companies like Google, Uber, and Tesla set a BHAG to develop self-driving cars that could navigate roads safely without human intervention. While this goal isn’t fully achieved yet, there’s been some significant progress made.
When you think about it, these goals looked so big and almost impossible at the time they were set. But right now? It’s all a different story!
Don’t settle for mediocrity with those uninspiring goals! Why not aim for the stars and change the world while you’re at it?
Creating Your Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals
Alright, let’s talk about how to create big, hairy, audacious goals! It can be scary to aim for something that seems impossible, but with the right mindset and approach, you can make it happen.
1. Have a clear and compelling purpose.
Your goal should be something that motivates and inspires your team. When everyone is working towards a clear and compelling goal, it creates a strong team spirit and helps everyone stay focused until the finish line.
2. Be committed to creativity and innovation.
To achieve audacious goals, you and your team need to be willing to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative ideas. This can be a challenge, but it’s essential for making big things happen.
3. Fuel your passion.
The key to making audacious goals work is to be truly passionate about what you’re doing. You can do this by creating a clear plan, cultivating a growth mindset, keeping your team members involved every step of the way, and encouraging everyone to stay focused and persevere through setbacks.
With these attitudes, the sky’s the limit!
4 Reasons Why You Should Tap Into the Power of Audacious Goals
Audacious goals are the next big reset to how you realize your goals and here’s why.
1. It enables innovation.
When you set goals that seem impossible to achieve, it forces you and your team to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative approaches to problem-solving. This can lead to breakthroughs that you never thought were possible!
2. It stretches limits.
Aiming higher than you ever have before can be a little intimidating, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. It pushes you and your team to go beyond your perceived limits, building your confidence and resilience along the way. Plus, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of accomplishment when you reach a goal you once thought was impossible.
3. It increases collaboration.
Audacious goals require everyone on the team to come together and work towards a common purpose. This can help build cohesion and create a sense of community within your organization. Plus, when everyone is bouncing ideas off each other, you never know what kind of genius solutions might emerge!
4. It gives room for societal progress.
When we set daring goals, we’re more likely to challenge the status quo and strive for meaningful change. This can lead to advancements in technology, science, and social justice. By setting audacious goals, you’re not just helping your organization, you’re also helping to move society forward.
BRING YOUR AUDACIOUS GOALS TO LIFE WITH PORTFOLIO CREATIVE!
Now you’re aware that audacious goals are what you need to get your business to the top, you’re probably wondering how to get started. We are here for you!
At Portfolio Creative, we specialize in connecting businesses with top-tier creatives. By partnering with us, you’ll gain access to a deep pool of resources and expertise that can help you undertake even the most ambitious and daring projects.
Our team takes a personalized approach to every client engagement, working closely with employers to understand their unique needs and goals. We take the time to assess each project carefully and recommend the best resources to achieve the desired outcomes. Our goal is to empower employers with the resources needed to succeed, no matter how audacious their goals may be.
Contact us today to discover how we can take your business to the next level.
1. Forbes. “SMART Goals: 5 Shocking Reasons Why They Might Be Dumb”. https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2022/10/30/smart-goals-5-shocking-reasons-why-they-might-be-dumb/?sh=5eaab13b1ad5. Published October 30, 2023. Accessed March 31, 2023.
2. Health Psychology Review. “The (over)use of SMART goals for physical activity promotion: A narrative review and critique”. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17437199.2021.2023608. Published January 31, 2022. Accessed March 31, 2023.