Summary of With Goals, FAST Beats SMART

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Goals that are SMART (“specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound”) aren’t, in fact, the most intelligent choice for your firm – so say strategy consultant Charles Sull and managment lecturer Donald Sull in this research-laden MIT Sloan Management Review article. For best results, the Sulls urge, set goals that are FAST: “frequently discussed, ambitious, specific and transparent.” 

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why SMART (“specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound”) goals can subvert your company’s strategy; and 
  • How to adjust four aspects of your goal-setting to optimize performance.
 

About the Authors

Donald Sull is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Charles Sull is a partner at the consultancy Charles Thames Strategy Partners.

 

Summary

Many managers swear by goals that are SMART (“specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound”). Yet, this approach can hamper a firm’s strategy. When rewards are contingent on achieving every goal, goal-setters tend to aim low, and keeping goals private blinds employees to others’ endeavors. Instead, goals should be FAST:


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