If I know what you stand for, I know what you won’t stand for.

What really matters to you, is it your internal or external culture? When do you and your management team take time to focus on the future? Are you focusing the majority of your time “in” the business vs. “on” the business? Have you defined your purpose or mission statement? How many of your employees can share your vision?

So, what does the SMART goals acronym mean to me and more importantly what should it mean to you?

  • S – Specific – The general rule is that if you have specific goals you will be able to reach them faster and better rather than if you have some general goals. The idea is to help you bring forth your deepest desires and to put them into action. Don’t simply say that ‘I want to be a 30 million dollar company’. Make your goal into one which also tells you, just how it will look like when you get there, by when and how and what you will have to do to make it happen. My sense is Smart goals turn your dreams into reality.
  • M – Measurable – Being able to measure how much you have achieved is an important facet of any goal. If you can measure weekly or monthly activity on how close you are to achieving what you set out to do, then it works as a fantastic motivating force for you to pursue your goal further. My members have several KPI’s (key performance indicators) and we review them quarterly if not monthly. Successful leaders Create their Make or Break and measure it religiously.
  • A – Attainable – No one knows yourself better than you. So ideally your goals should be stretched yet attainable kept with your limitations and strengths in mind. If you set up a goal that is unattainable and you know that you won’t be able to achieve it, you know that you’re going to fail. So be pragmatic and have goals that can be met and are not just mere pipe dreams.
  • R – Realistic – Just as with the previous point, make sure your goals are achievable by you. Are they realistic for you? You know yourself best so make sure you set goals that can be actually achieved and not just those which sound good on paper. Have you considered a peer group of like minded individuals which would enable you to discuss the undiscussable? Who do you turn to with your most crucial decisions?
  • T – Timely – Who holds you accountable for what matters most? Are you afraid of setting a deadline and not being able to meet it? Ideally, smart goals are those which have a deadline attached to them because time is immeasurably important. Make sure that you set up goals which meet all the above criteria and which can be achieved in the given space of time.

The SMART goals acronym for goals is not just about cleverly phrased words couched in spiel. It is about things that you can actually do if you set out to do them right

Gil Cargill, Sales consultant from Los Angeles told me to do 1st things 1st and 2nd things never. Another take-away from his workshop was “1st Meetings” as a Bus Dev goal for all of us. Weekly measuring the # of efforts we are spending toward developing new relationships. A very powerful and meaningful metric.

If you are looking for a one page business plan that works, Eric Stumberg CEO of TengoInternet suggests buying the book  “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits – What you must do to increase value of your growing firm” by Verne Harnish. Verne’s one page business plan in part has enabled Eric to deliver profits in 2010 greater than his revenue was in 2006, when he became a founding member of my CE 3331 group.

So in closing, my suggestion is for you to take the time to determine:

  • What really matters to you as a leader? Internal Culture, Customer Satisfaction, Quality
  • What do you want to have a reputation for as a leader? Consistency, Clarity, Transparent Communication
  • What boundaries do you set on what you will or won’t do as a leader? Integrity, Honestly

Because my members tell me that becoming a leader is not about selling out but taking a stand for what matters the most to you.


Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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