On Setting Goals

This morning over coffee and brunch a very good friend of mine put something to me that I found insightful and directly applicable.

It is an extension to SMART goal setting. Set your goals based on what you intend to do rather than what you intend to achieve. So, set a goal like “Demonstrate product to 50 customers by the end of the month” rather than setting yourself a goal like “Sign up 5 customers by the end of the month” . 

If you fail to achieve the goal of sign up 5 customers in the month then: you can blame it on external factors in a way that removes responsibility from yourself; external factors may have actually caused the failure; you had an unrealistic idea of who your customer was; or the something else or something else or something else.

On the other hand, you can go about demonstrating your product to 50 people and successfully complete it without being affected by external factors. If you don’t achieve this goal then the only one you have the blame is yourself. Just remember to have an intention behind the goal.

In technical terms I’m probably confusing goals and objectives. Oh well.

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2 Responses to “On Setting Goals”


  1. 1 Coach Joe December 5, 2008 at 3:56 am

    A neat addition to the idea of SMART Goal Setting.

    It basically states to link your goal to elements that are truly in your control, things that you can actually achieve.

    The only thing I could foresee being a possible draw back is that the idea, or drive, behind signing up 5 individuals by the end of the month is gone. There by leaving the individual with less motivation to perform their presentation at their very best.

    So, actually both could be and probably should be set as goals, the presentations being a sub-goal of signing up 5 clients by the end of the month.

    Just a thought.

    Cheers,
    Coach Joe

  2. 2 Scott Middleton December 5, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Thanks Joe, that is exactly what I was getting at with the intention behind the goal. Because you still need that intention of signing customers up.

    Or in the case of the gym, you set yourself the goal of “completing your set workouts each week” and “eating like horse” with the intention of “putting on 5kg”.


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