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observing Goals

by | Jan 6, 2022 | Goals, KISS, observe

Having observed Goals being used well… and not, I have some musical observations on what makes SMART not 😉  And I am in good company with KISS and Steve Jobs…

observing Goals as the objective is missing the point…

“I write down Goals every day in this Planner. Each day I review them… move the ones I didn’t do to tomorrow… and do it again.” I was listening intently to a Darden MBA student who I had already observed was HYPER organized and focused on achieving success. By this point, my own Goal was to be better at observing the “rest signs” in the melody that is “playing out” so I waited. He slid it across the table to me and stated “….. I hate that Planner”.

One of my Goals for this week was to consider that Goals are not necessarily helpful, particularly not the way that many people do them. I had a direct report who was like this leader: EXTREMELY organized and wrote probably the clearest and best “performance goals” for her year. Yes you heard that right – she wrote, ensuring every one of them was SMART – if you know that acronym, great, and if not, don’t bother until you finish this post. And it was before she worked for me, and now, at the end of the year where all of us had a major right turn in our plans. I was left writing her review which was basically “None of these happened… and it was one of the best years of your career”.

KISS adds the final member, and the Goals become clear…

Paul Frehley was born and raised in The Bronx, with roots also from The Netherlands. The Frehleys were a musical family, and when Frehley received an electric guitar as a Christmas present in 1964, he immersed himself in learning the instrument. “I never went to music school; I never took a guitar lesson, but everybody in my family plays an instrument. My mother and father both played piano, his father was the church organist, and my brother and sister both played piano and acoustic guitar.” While Frehley was always surrounded by music, he got the nickname “Ace” in high school from friends who said he was “a real ace” for his ability to get dates 😉

He also observed that musicians, particularly lead guitarists, have an advantage there. A guidance counselor encouraged him a good backup Goal would be to get into graphic arts like Paul Stanley. At the same audition for Peter with Paul, Gene, he showed up wearing one red and one orange sneaker – less than impressive visually. The others liked what they heard from his playing as of January 1973, this group became KISS. Frehley designed the band’s double-lightning-bolt logo, which was polished up by fellow graphic artist Stanley. For his persona, Frehley decided to start painting silver stars on his eyes and became Space Ace also known as The Spaceman.

… but really do Goals achieve the outcome… if you are dreaming big?

As lead guitarist, Frehley was known for his frenetic, atmospheric playing, becoming one of the most popular guitarists in the 1970s and spawning a generation of new players. Frehley stated in the book Kiss: Behind the Mask that many guitarists have told him that his playing on 1975’s hit Alive! prompted them to pick up the instrument. Frehley is well-recognized for using Gibson Les Paul guitars, including his trademarked model conversion Les Paul Custom. “I play guitar in such an unorthodox way,” he told Guitar World in 1996. “I’ve never taken a guitar lesson. One of our assistants brought it to my attention a few months ago that, sometimes, when I play chords, my thumb is on the fretted side of the neck. I have no idea why or how I do it, but I do.”  It is pure joy…

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-BoundSMART. If you have been taught Goals ever, this is probably what you were taught. Now more research is observing that SMART goals are not observed to actually be helpful in any of those criteria, and mostly get everyone focused on their negative voices. “I haven’t, I didn’t, I can’t” – and fighting against that can actually be powerful but eventually exhausting. A great Forbes article includes this note – “even late Steve Jobs exhorted his people to greatness with rallying cries like “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” But SMART goals tell us we’re supposed to tell our employees “make your goals Achievable and Realistic”? There’s a disconnect if I’ve ever heard one.

One of the greatest guitarists and greatest technologists agreeSMART Goals don’t produce Success. So what does? As I gently entered the melody of the Darden student, I slowly reminded him of what he HAD achieved – which was incredible. While a full-time MBA student in one of the top programs in the world, he was leading multiple volunteer organizations, working, and also dating/marrying/starting a family. All “Goals” – not documented or tracked – because they didn’t meet his definition of SMART. As we changed the key from minor to major, his face softened, he started to laugh, and we then changed the melody of his planner to a “daily success journal”. You have started to see this emerge as harmonious daily “mindfulness” practice…what did I learn today, what was fun, where did I see joy… His 3 chords…

observe what change in key will help you achieve what you really want…

Working too hard … ALL the time … is a clue that perhaps your Goals need to be adjusted and realigned. I am talking to myself – thanks for observing my melody 😉 Hard work/working hard has always been a not-so-subtle Goal of mine… that I am continually reassessing.  Again from one of the greatest venues on the planet, Budokon, Kiss at their absolute best. And an anthem for the most blue-collar, hardworking places in the world. observe what Goals, SMART, and Success mean to you. If you are like me, perhaps step back and realize you don’t have to be like “the hardest working band in the world”Detroit – Rock City.

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