SMART Goal Setting

After having worked with SMART goal setting, the CEO of GE Jake Welch said that the SMART goal setting techniques helped them triple the value of their stock in eight years. At GE, they used SMART goal setting to evaluate the commitments to plan what kind of work that people should be doing. Everyone had a meeting with their boss about what specific goals they should work towards over the next year.


What is SMART Goal Setting?

SMART goal setting is an acronym that can be used to set good goals. According to SMART goal setting, a goal should be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-bound. In the same way SMART goal setting technique helped to increase the value of GE by a factor of three, this can also be used in your job hunt and career to move forward.


SMART Goal Setting in the Job Hunt

For instance, let’s say that you want to find a job. This is your stretch goal, something that you want to make happen in your life but that is not really actionable. You read about the job market and you read about the various channels that many employers use in order to find new employees. You might see that 60 % of all jobs are given to someone that has an informal connection with the employer. You see this and think to yourself that you want to increase the number of informal connections that you are having.


One goal could be to expand your network on LinkedIn by 200 people over the next month. This is a goal that is specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-bound. The next question becomes, where can you meet these 200 people and how? That is a question about what strategy you will use in order to find the job. That is a question about execution.


So having a SMART goal helps a lot in the sense that we now know that if we connect to 20 people, then we have done 10 % of our goal. Also, we know exactly what we will do when we sit down in front of the computer in the morning. It makes our life a lot easier because we know if we are moving forward or not.


Some people say that life is too complex to be measured like this. That we cannot really just put numbers on everything. I do agree that it can be hard to measure everything. But the thing is that the alternative, to not have a quantifiable goal is even worse because we don’t have any guidance around what we should do.


Quality vs Quantity

I think that quantity will breed quality. At least if you also are adding some reflection to the process. Like, if you have this goal to connect to 200 people and then after 2 days trying to connect to 40 people with a particular method, but no person responded, then I think you would naturally start to think about why the method is not working and what you can do differently. In that way, quantity will make you think about quality also. So, don’t be too worried about having too specific or quantified goals. Rather be afraid of having too broad goals.

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