Jeffrey M. Keefer, Ph.D.
Educational Consultant & Coach

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Many of us have the experience of creating SMART goals, especially during that once-a-year time when organizations tend to focus upon them. You know, we set our goals for the next year, and while they are often organizationally-focused and based on the context we know now, they do tend to prioritize short-term successes.

Right, short-term only, as it will be next year at this time when we will review how we did over the past 12 months.

Goals are things worth doing, and while short-term ones are better than not having any at all, they are even more powerful when they connect to longer-term goals, perhaps chunking them in shorter-term constructs. Nonetheless, as they are more oriented, and at times rewarded, within a short-term period, the success that is prioritized is short-term as well.

The result is an emphasis on looking good now without any direct implication for the long-haul.

Staff, like politicians or day-traders or municipal planners, are not rewarded now for long-term strategic thinking or planning. We have a certain cultural shortsightedness that is happier with a short win than a long-term solution that takes time and thankless effort to implement.

Neither good nor bad, yet another challenge to factor into organizational goal setting.

[This post is part of an ongoing series exploring SMART Goals, those that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, and how they can be applied to individual professional development needs.]


I help people navigate their learning needs and take informed action, so in many ways I live the world of SMART Goals every day with many levels of interest and influence. However, I know that many still find this difficult to work through on their own, due to having goal challenges for all sorts of reasons. If you find yourself struggling to write out or commit to your goals, I am happy to chat through a free 30-minute coaching consult. This is in itself often enough to help people clarify their direction and work through their stuck places, yet if you find you may want or need some ongoing support or accountability, I do offer that through my educational consulting or coaching work.

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