STANWOOD insights

Why SMART Goals Won't Help You Grow

Feb 8, 2019 11:13:02 AM / by Richard Bretzger

A key element of success at stanwood is setting ourselves high goals each year. At the end of the year, we do a resume to see what we achieved and especially where we failed. We do this on a company level, team level, and also on a personal level.

For the longest time of my life, I set myself SMART goals.



Dungdm93 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons


A team goal at stanwood could be:

"Increase the number of digital transformation projects."

By using the SMART method, we would break this generic goal down into the 5 elements:

1. Specific: I will acquire 5 new projects from small and medium sized enterprises that need our help in digitally transforming their processes.
2. Measurable: I will measure my progress by how many new projects I bring on while keeping all active projects
3. Attainable: I will set up a marketing campaign and help our CEO get speaking engagements.
4. Relevant: Our experience in SAP projects and SME will create a lot of benefit for our clients and will therefor help stanwood grow.
5. Time Based: I will acquire these 5 new projects until the end of Q1.


So, our SMART goal would be: 

I will acquire 5 new digital transformation projects from SME in Q1/2019 by setting up a marketing campaign and getting our CEO speaking engagements. This will help us grow our revenue in the area of SME and help companies to get their processes ready for digitalisation.”


This method is great for setting most of your goals. You can easily measure them, track their progress every month and check if you hit your target at the end of the year. But:


SMART Goals Won’t Help You Grow

If you really want to step it up a notch for your team, if you want to leave mediocracy behind and dismiss the usual “same same but different” ideas, SMART goals won’t get you anywhere.

When Apple invented the iPod and Steve Jobs introduced it to the world: That wasn’t a SMART goal. When Elon Musk put his Tesla Roadster on a Falcon Rocket and sent it on a journey through space: that wasn’t a SMART goal either.

The major moves of companies are never SMART. They are daring and bold, and probably perceived as lunatic, megalomanic and impossible by the outside.



The stanwood team setting their goals.


SMART Goals Limit Your Mind

SMART goals immediately limit your mind to what is possible at the moment. So if you really want to take your team performance to the next level, you have to aim high and set goals that do not seem realistic at the moment, that require knowledge or technologies that you do not yet have but that you strive to acquire in the future.

If you want to overcome the average, you must extrapolate the current capabilities or skills for the future. That is the only way to really grow, rather than limit yourself by SMART goals that follow the status quo.



torbakhopper [CC BY-ND 2.0 (]


DUMB Goals Help You Achieve Greatness

The major ingredient of the stanwood formula is: Always challenge the status quo, never be satisfied with mediocracy. stanwood grew from a 1-app company with 3 employees back in 2008 to a remote agency with 40 tech enthusiasts working from all over the world.


Did we think it possible back then? Absolutely not!
Did we dare to dream big and work tirelessly to achieve this bold goal? Hell yeah!

And that’s exactly what DUMB goals are about: You can only achieve great things if you dream big from the beginning. And only then, you break your big goal down into smaller steps to achieve it.

DUMB Goals Are


D: Dream-driven
U: Uplifting
M: Method-friendly
B: Behavior-driven

Those goals are the ones that accelerate growth, inspire people and set the right path to future success. By using DUMB goals, we set our minds free to dream big and dare to strive for greatness. Only then, the SMART method helps you break your big goal down to manageable and measurable tasks.

So, when you set your goals for 2019: Aim high! Dream big! And dare to use DUMB goals!

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