Beyond SMART: Goal-Setting Redefined

Your Vision of a Better Future

To achieve a better future, it is imperative to make that vision clear and vivid. Understanding and communicating the necessity of this better future is paramount. To gain this understanding and plan this communication, invest time in self-discovery, be driven by your purpose, and to always keep the ultimate outcome you envision top of mind.

The messages that follow will explain how effectively designed goals can transform lofty visions of a better future into achievable realities, ensuring that every step taken is a step closer to that better future.

GOALS: Advancing Routes to Success

For decades, business leaders have been guided to adopt SMART goals, which encompass five key aspects: specificity, measurability, attainability, relevance, and time-bounded nature.

In the past decade, our recommendation has shifted to SMARTACRE goals. This enhanced approach adds four crucial facets that must be considered to make SMART goals even more effective: actions, conversions, results, and emotions.

The following outlines how to advance your goals from SMART to SMARTer and achieve the results you desire.


Specific: Success hinges on well-defined goals set for different periods – daily, weekly, monthly, annual, and long-term. Daily goals keep you actively engaged, weekly and monthly goals enable monitoring of continuous progress, and annual goals offer a broader overview, aligning with your long-term vision. Employing practical tools like to-do lists for daily activities and seeking guidance from expert resources are key in organizing and managing your strategies and goal setting effectively. This ensures every small task contributes to the bigger picture, keeping you steadily on course towards your overarching objectives.

Measurable: The measurability of goals is critical in transforming visions into realities. By setting quantifiable targets and monitoring results, you enable the tracking of progress and ensure that your efforts align with your long-term goals. This process helps in breaking down the broader vision into specific, measurable, and manageable steps, fostering ongoing learning and improvement. Regularly evaluating your progress and adjusting short-term goals accordingly is essential for continuous growth and success, ensuring that each milestone achieved is a step closer to your ultimate ambition.

Attainable: Setting attainable short-term goals bridges the gap between high [even big hairy audacious] aspirations and practical achievement. It’s vital to set goals that are challenging yet achievable, considering your teams’ current talents, strengths, and resources. This balance is crucial for maintaining motivation, preventing disillusionment, and having successes to celebrate. Attainable goals bring advancement towards your long-term vision, building confidence and momentum with every step by ensuring your journey is marked by realistic and incremental successes.

Relevant: The relevance of your goals is fundamental in aligning them with your core values, vision, and mission. Also, considering Drucker’s “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” wisdom, strategy and goal relevance must be aligned with your business culture. Ensuring that your goals are grounded in realistic assessments and accurate information, supported by market research, strengthens their connection to your long-term aspirations. Relevant goals ensure that your daily efforts are not just strategically and tactically sound but also resonate deeply with your ultimate purpose, making your and your colleagues’ paths towards them both meaningful and effective.

Time-Bounded: Establishing time-bound goals is crucial for driving achievement and maintaining a growth trajectory. Specific deadlines for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual objectives infuse a sense of urgency and structure in your approach. For example, adhering to a structured agenda in meetings and following up on post-meeting commitments/actions reflect this approach. Time-bounded goals ensure that each day is maximized, keeping you and your team aligned and progressing steadily towards your envisioned future. This approach transforms your long-term goals into attainable, timely steps, delineating a clear path to learning and success.


While SMART goals provide a solid foundation, greater success can be achieved through SMARTACRE goals. Begin by establishing your long-term SMARTACRE goals, which embody your envisioned future. Then, methodically break down these goals into specific actions, tasks, and processes. These should then be integrated into shorter-term SMARTACRE goals, facilitating continuous improvement through taking actions, monitoring results, and adjusting strategies and goals to address challenges and overcome setbacks.

The advancement from SMART to SMARTACRE involves a deeper and more thoughtful, and iterative, approach to goal setting. It expedites learning and embeds adaption. This advancement integrates four additional crucial elements: actions, conversions, results, and emotions. Each of these facets plays a pivotal role in transforming goals from mere strategic concepts into tangible and practical realities.

Actions: The journey towards goal achievement begins with understanding the specific actions necessary for success. These actions should be realistic and credible, utilizing individual and team strengths while compensating for weaknesses. These actions should be evaluated using simple, proven tools including the ”80/20 Rule” [Pareto Principle]. The key is to employ the right talent, doing the right tasks, using the best available tools, and ensuring every action contributes effectively towards a small goal…and the ultimate vision.

Conversions: Goal achievement improves when actions are broken down into smaller, manageable steps and executed in a sequence that maximizes success likelihood. Conversions follow naturally when small steps to goals are clear, tasks are proven-successful over time, and tasks are preformed by talented people. Similar to marketing and sales and accounting tasks, all process tasks should be methodically planned and executed to ensure smooth transitions from one stage to the next. This approach builds success incrementally, ensuring steady growth.

Results: When people complete tasks they either achieve success or failure. When tasks are right-sized the successes and failures are small pieces of education. Some education is due to small victories; some education is due to small failures. Either way, the education should be recognized, shared, and celebrated. Growth and success are rarely about “grand wins”. Growth and success are about fostering a culture of achievement and success orientation, where every small step is valued and contributes to the larger objective.

Emotions: Emotions consistently overpower logic. And situations consistently derail even the best intentions and the best-made plans. To counter these human realities, tasks should be structured as small and manageable steps, enabling continuous self-monitoring and adjustment. This approach minimizes errors and mitigates the need for major corrections later, ensuring a smoother and faster path to success. Of more importance, this approach allows people to grow personal and team skills, strengths, and confidence.

In conclusion, incorporating the nine SMARTACRE facets into your goal-setting process will grow your business more quickly and easily. You will enjoy a culture that achieves your goals and converts your long-term vision into reality.

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