Photo Credit: rhondacooper.org
General Electric is widely regarded as the first company to established a culture around SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals. As a result, they had numerous portions of their company grow at an unprecedented rate. What most people don’t know, however, is that there were other sectors of the company that struggled greatly with SMART goals. This isn’t because they didn’t know how to implement them, on the contrary it was because they were so focused on hitting their SMART goals that they were setting the bar too low. You know these people, the ones who write something down on their to-do list after they have already completed the task just so they can get the satisfaction of crossing it off. Heck, maybe you are one of these people. This is the byproduct of never setting audacious goals. Goals that stretch you to the limit. Goals that make you reimagine what is possible. The rub in all of this is that both SMART goals and audacious goals are important if you want to create massive success.
Fortunately for General Electric they had legendary CEO Jack Welch at the helm who realized that something was amiss. While on a trip to observe the operations of various companies in Japan, Jack Welch learned of how the engineers behind the famous Japanese Bullet Train were constantly stretched by their superiors to build something that they thought was physically impossible. The result of this constant challenging of what was possible combined with the SMART goal approach is what helped them to create a train that could travel twice as fast as any developed previously (over 120 mph). The setting of audacious goals and stretching of what they thought was possible, was exactly what these departments at General Electric were missing. Jack Welch came to the realization that SMART goals were only one half of the puzzle and that his company needed to take the lid off of what they thought they could accomplish, set more audacious goals, and then combine them with the SMART strategy to systematically move themselves towards what they previously thought was unattainable. The result? Over a decade long dominance in the market as one of the most valuable companies in the world and Jack Welch being named by Fortune magazine as the “Manager of the Century.”
So why do we share all of this with you? It’s simple, the same goal setting strategies that helped General Electric can be applied in our lives as well. At the end of the day, a major corporation is just a bunch of individuals who have their goals tied into one another. We find that people are generally good at employing one of these two strategies but rarely combine the two like they should. Most people are either setting big goals, talking a big game, and then never developing any sort of daily rhythm to systematically work towards them, or they are setting goals that are so easy to hit so that they can feel good about completing the task that they never actually get anywhere. The magic is in the combination of the two, but here is the rub: it is going to take more intentionality and focus to do both of these together than to do them separately. So even though much more energy is going to be required of you, it is also one of the most important things that you can invest that energy into in your life. Having a mentor who has either already achieved the goals that you are looking to achieve, or is at least further down the road towards achieving them, will give you a leg up in setting these goals and also greatly enhance your chances achieving them.
Don’t allow yourself to go week after week, month after month, and year after year of your life not accomplishing the things you ultimately want to achieve. Dream big, set incremental SMART goals, and find a mentor to guide you. These are critical factors in helping you take the steps toward creating ultimate fulfillment in your life. You've got this.
Brandon & Amanda