SMART goals could be smarter

We have long lived by the acronym SMART for setting goal structure and scope.  That stands for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Timely, and is a great baseline for understanding what a goal means and where it fits.  However, if you want to effectively implement the goal, then the SMARTO acronym can prove to be even more helpful.  One very critical component of achieving goals, is to forecast the Obstacles so as to prepare for them.  Often the surprise factor of an obstacle can be more infuriating than the obstacle itself.

If you’re goal tonight is to get home by dinner and you encounter unexpected delays due to road construction, it can be quite upsetting because it throws your whole timeline off.  However, if you forecast the road construction obstacle ahead of time, you can plan an alternate route, and call home and ask a family member to throw the lasagna in the oven.  Without the surprise factor, the obstacle work around plan evolves along with the goal which makes the obstacle seem less intrusive and personal, and just something that is considered along with the SMART part of the goal.

The other hidden reason to consider obstacles in goal planning is because Obstacles can derail or at least influence the goal Specifics, how the goal is Measured, and what Actions need to be taken into account.  Obstacles certainly reveal if the goal is Realistic or Timely. Take for example your goal will require CEO budget approval, but the CEO is traveling for two months and will want to review the ROI metrics.  Knowing this ahead of time will force the team to prepare at a higher level of critical thinking to make commitments on realistic timelines and be more thorough with the numbers.  Plus, it will demonstrate competency to the CEO.  Considering obstacles is a win win.

When addressing obstacles ahead of time, plans can be implemented to minimize them or even avoid them all together.  Removing the surprise factor will remove the emotions associated with obstacles so they can be put in perspective.  Move from SMART goals to SMARTO goals, and you are certain to improve the degree of goal achievement.