Are SMART Goals the Best Way to Motivate and Develop your Team? Probably Not

Are SMART Goals the Best Way to Motivate and Develop your Team? Probably Not.

SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. In other words, SMART goals are very clear and factually defined. For example, a SMART goal might sound something like, “we will gain 6 new clients in the next 3 months” or “I want to gain a 15% pay increase in the next year”. These are very specific targets that lay out a time frame and can be measured using numbers. It seems pretty effective, right? Well, not exactly.

SMART goal, set our goals, visualisation, employee engagement, changing the way you set goals, working towards a common goal, workplan

Here’s the problem…

An overwhelming majority of studies conducted in recent years have shown, as humans, we are much more stimulated and encouraged by images, visuals, and pictures. In a literal and simple sense, this is demonstrated by the fact we recall 6.5x more information when it is delivered via visual- for example, an informational video vs. a slideshow presentation with text.

What’s the relevance?

This logic can be easily applied to the way we set our goals. A phrase like “we will gain 6 new clients in the next 3 months”, is simply that- a phrase made up of words. And chances are, the more we repeat a phrase to ourselves, the more those words will begin to lose their meaning because there’s no emotions or feelings attached.

Alternatively, when you create an image or visualisation in your head, it will often trigger an emotional reaction whether that be happiness, sadness, excitement, fear or any number of emotions. It’s this emotional response that leaves much more of a mark on us than a few simple words strung together into a sentence.

So, rather than stating your goal, visualise it clearly as an image in your mind. Imagine exactly what your life will look like as a direct result of the achievement of that goal. Imagine clearly how exactly you will feel when you achieve this goal. Add as much fine detail as possible down to colours, dimensions, smells and anything else you can think of. Chances are, you will become much more motivated and driven by this image in your head. What’s more, every time you picture that image you will become more and more determined to turn this scenario into a reality.

SMART goal, set our goals, visualisation, employee engagement, changing the way you set goals, working towards a common goal, workplan

Do we know this for a fact?

Yes, we do. Leadership IQ conducted a study on 4,182 employees from 397 organisations and businesses and the outcomes were clear. One of the questions required respondents to state how strongly they disagreed with the statement, “I can vividly picture how great it will feel when I achieve my goals”. Those who answered ‘strongly agree’ had 49% higher employee engagement than those who answered ‘strongly disagree’. What’s more, the study showed those who use visuals to describe their goals are 50% more likely to love their job or career, than those who describe their goals using words and/or numbers.

So, if you’re still looking for a new year’s resolution, why don’t you try changing the way you set goals for your organisation. Share this image, in precise detail, with your team and staff to make sure everyone is working towards a common goal. You’ll be thoroughly impressed by the levels of motivation this brings to your team and the success it brings to your company. Most of us have heard the quote by Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it”, and while that’s a pretty simplistic and somewhat romanticised take on the situation, we think Walt knew exactly what he was talking about.

At WorkPlan, we are committed to keeping your organisation on a path of development, engagement and success. To learn more about how we can help you or to book a free consultation, get in touch with us today.

Top 10 Picks of 2021 for L&D professionals– Must Reads and Must Listens
- by WorkPlan

Learning never stops. Here is a must-read list of books, podcasts and videos that will elevate your mindset as an L&D professional.

Building a Learning Ecosystem: 3 Steps To Follow
- by WorkPlan

A natural ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Similarly to a biological ecosystem, a business exists on similar fundamentals.

What are the learning (or L&D) priorities in 2021?
- by WorkPlan

Here, we explore the Learning and Development priorities trending in 2021.

Are you ready
to take your business to the next level?

Contact us today

1300 726 708

+61 7 3220 2229

  • I am interested in... (please select as many as you'd like)

Fill in this form and we will send you a link to download the WorkPlan Strategy Program.

Simply check your inbox for an email from us with your download link.

Engage Your People

Great business insights delivered right to your inbox