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PisanoSep 3, 2020 12:46:38 PM4 min read

Not Hitting Your Targets? It Might Not Be Your Fault

We've all been there.

Every year management gets together to set the strategy and objectives for the new year. You shake hands and start the hustle.

Before you know it, Q3 has arrived and things are looking grim 😱

Team morale diminishes and people start playing the blame game — it can get pretty tough. We all hate the feeling of failing.

Obviously, there can be lots of reasons why goals aren't met; however, one reason you may have not considered is this… your goals are not SMART.

No, not that smart — I mean this S.M.A.R.T.

SMART is a system developed to make goals more…

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Sounds good? Let's see how SMART objectives can help you set better goals starting with this example.

 "We need to increase our profits"

This sounds like a reasonable goal. Of course, right? You obviously should increase profits!

But think about it for a second.

By when do we need to increase profits? By how much? And why?

As you can guess, this goal isn't SMART 😅

That's why it will probably not be achieved. Yet, somehow if it does get done, no one will know because it's not clear how, why, when or by whom it needs to be achieved.

So let's see how we can make our goals SMART-er.


The first step is to make the goal specific. To do this, you'll need to answer questions like…

  • How?
  • With whom?
  • Where?

Good goals are non-ambiguous. They're well articulated and clear.

Instead of going for "I need to lose weight", make it more specific. Say "I need to lose 5 kg by consuming less sugar".


Next, you need to determine exactly how you're going to track your progress. Can you even measure it?

This means you need to stay away from non-quantifiable goals. Put a number on your goals and set milestones so you can re-adjust on the way — so you don't lose track and you have a proper feedback loop that will guide you.


There's no point in setting a goal if there's no way to get it done. This seems obvious but it's easy to get carried away and set crazy goals.

Sometimes we set aspirational goals and underestimate what it takes to achieve those goals. And sometimes, the goal is attainable but there's no time or no one to do it.

That said — for most of us, aiming too low is a bigger problem.

As Michelangelo put it, "The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."

So it's best to break down goals into subgoals that can be achieved in a steady and systematic way.


Can the objective be applied to real-life challenges you face? Is it relevant? Will it move the needle?

Too often we set goals based on what ought to be — or what others are doing.

To be able to set relevant goals, you need introspection. You need to identify the root cause of issues and execute first principles thinking.

Clarifying this and making sure your goals are relevant will prevent you from going out on a wild-goose chase and waste time.


Lastly, you need to set a deadline. Without this, it's easy to get carried away.

This can be challenging, with complex goals. Estimating how long you can achieve things can be difficult because real-life is not so deterministic.

A great way to go about setting deadlines is by consulting experts about how long the goal will take. Additionally, determining how much time in the future can be dedicated to the goal.

* * *

Now that you have all the building blocks needed for SMART objectives. Let's apply them to our initial example.

"We need to increase our profits" becomes,

 "By focusing our sales team on cross-selling to existing customers in the European market we need to increase our profits by 10% this quarter so that we can create more value for shareholders"

Which is more…

  • Specific: By cross-selling to existing customers in the European market
  • Measurable: Increase our profits by 10%
  • Actionable: By focusing our sales team
  • Relevant: So that we can create more value for shareholders
  • Time-bound: This quarter

That's it! Start focusing on getting SMART 😉 and you'll drive more results for your company and set your career for success.

This article is based on Pisano CX Workshop workbook content. If you're looking to set better goals which will improve your customer experience strategy. We'd love to connect and organize a workshop for you and your team!