Entrepreneurship Ideas

Are Smart Goals dumb? New Year Resolutions and Goals for 2020

Richard Lucas January 2020

Introduction and background

The first TEDxKazimierzSalon of 2020 on 28th January is on the topic of New Year Resolutions.

Many of us set goals – personal and professional, either because we have to we or want to, and it does make sense. While a resolution is not exactly the same as a goal they are similar.  I decided to share some insights as I prepare for the event, reviewing TED talks, podcasts and reading to help me decide what talks and activities to share at our TEDxKazimierzSalon

Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals Dumb?
Many of us have heard that goals should be Smart.

S M A R T is an acronym for
Measurable (or was that motivating)
Action orientated (or was that achievable?)
Realistic (or was that relevant, or resourced?)
Time Limited 

Manager Tools, possibly the world’s leading podcast on management with over one million downloads a month (even back in 2016 before the big podcasting boom) claims that “smart goals” are not smart. 

Wall Street Journal about Manager Tools

That the only things that matter about goals is that they should be measurable and have deadlines. Listen the whole podcast here. It is well worth the listen.

A Manager Tools Hall of Fame Podcast

Mark Horstman one of the founders of Manager Tools likes being controversial. In his talk at USI “What You’ve Been Taught About Management is Wrong ” he argues that that if you don’t know the names of the children of the people who report to you, you shouldn’t be a manager. You can only manage people if you know them.

TEDxKazimierz 2018 speaker Piotr Nabielec talked convincingly about the importance of managing your time – he argues your time is more valuable than money. We know that our lives and years are measured in time. 

Piotr Nabielec on the TEDxKazimierz Stage in 2018

Piotr helps people manage their time – I recommend his courses, and time management in general.

At TEDxTarnow in 2019  I shared the idea that even if you have not settled your on life goals, you can still work on what I call “opportunity readiness”. Working on your health and fitness, skills, finances, relationships, and mindset so that when the right moment comes, and you find a purpose or goal you care about, you are prepared and ready for it.

My TEDxTarnow talk

In the BS deep world of Startups there are acronyms like BHAG – big hairy audacious goals – I’m a native speaker of English, reasonably well educated and I just do not understand what this means. I do not think I am alone.
I’m moderately hairy. To be among the market leaders in their chosen markets is a challenging goal for any of my businesses, and in some cases we are or have achieved it, but I would not be impressed if the CEO or others challenged me on the hairiness of our goals. You will be doing me (and others) a favour if you keep your communication simple and easy to understand.

Tim Minchin’s wonderful UWA address (out of which I made a TED-ED flipped video lesson for my entrepreneurship students) includes the wonderful lesson 1 ” “You don’t have to have a dream.”

His humanist values are ones that many could do well to emulate, and if you have yet to discover his talent, you can’t do better than listen to this.

Three Minute Song – Tim Minchin Royal Variety Show

It probably goes without saying but probably what really matters is that quality and value of the goals you set, rather than just the degree to which you achieve them. Our 90 year war hero from TEDxKazimierz 2015 (Theme “Age is no Limit” put it perfectly.

prof. Wojciech Narębski on the TEDxKazimierz stage in 2015

If anyone can share TED talks in the comments below this post that you think we should consider showing, on goal setting, creativity, and a “values based” approach to life and living, that would be much appreciated.

If you want to come to the TEDxKazimierzSalon on 28th January you can fast track your ticket application by filling in this form. or apply the normal way here.