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Old 06-21-2014, 12:08 PM   #81
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I thought just the original post was spectacularly passive-aggressive, considering board membership.
I suspect that the original poster is a fan of using goals and had no idea that the SMART acronym was so disliked by many people. I was a little surprised myself at my own visceral intense dislike of the concept dredged up by the idea I might deliberately subject myself to such corporate nonsense in my personal life. And I really like goals and personal goal setting. Just loathe SMART. Apparently many agree with me.

It seems to me that original post was innocently launched by someone who has had good experiences with SMART, or who was unaware of what a clusterf it usually is when implemented in most work environments.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:38 PM   #82
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I wish I had printed off my last 4 years of "Performance Management" reviews. (That was the period of time where I had decided that several things were in play:

First- I was entering that protected status condition of being old enough to make claims of age discrimination really painful for them, if the company should decide to do something like show me the door. This was in part based on their actions in one well known case of how they fired a person who was a true non-performer. If they had offered the general population the severance terms that they gave him when they 'fired' him, they would have had a line at the HR office.

Second- I had great bosses at the time. They knew what was going on, but they were in a position in the political/management system that required them to salute and parrot the company propaganda. This made for some interesting discussions when they would talk about the latest initiatives, and I would ask if the company planned to fix some of the structural problems that would prevent us from achieving those goals (person to person, never in a public sitauation that would make them look bad).

Third- I had no ambition towards a promotion or advancement. If something happened, fine. But as I explained to them, the reality is that if I recieved 0 raises, it really doesn't impact the financials. I could just stick around another 6 months and make more money than if they dangled a couple extra percent in front of me. If they came up with an unrealistically fantastic raise, it really didn't change anything. I was on a glide path, financially, to leave on my schedule.

So when they asked for goals, I put them in there. "My goal is to obtain a job in a different department within the next fiscal year." "My goal is to improve the diversity of this group by leaving it, just affecting the number of middle aged white guys in the department." "My goal is to embrace diversity by being more tolerant of critical mistakes and errors made by our international outsourcing efforts, as they do not have the experience and skills that we are typically working with."

I think they did get the last laugh. When I retired, I had enough accumulated vacation that I could have my last day in the office, and then burn up vacation for a number of months before my actual retirement date. Several months after I had worked my last day in the office, but several months before my actual retirement date, I received notice that I had been awarded a really nice raise. I responded back that that was perhaps one of the most disgusting thing I could think of the company doing. They could have given some more raise to one of the young folks, and it would have meant something to them. Instead, they gave it to me, which meant they paid me a few more dollars for a couple months and then it left the budget. (Raises were a zero sum game, a certain amount was available to the entire department. Person A gets more, somebody else gets less.)

My actual retirement date was a week before the yearly performance management reports were due. HR called me to ask why I had not submitted my goals yet! I told her that if I did not get them submitted before the deadline, she could personally come find me and escort me to the door. She is still probably looking for me!

Corporate BS. Filed under the category of 'Not missed around here!"
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Old 06-21-2014, 03:27 PM   #83
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Goals, hmmmm. I guess I simply see what is needed and then just do it until it is done. I never had a fancy acronym.

I do sometimes write things down so I won't forget. Like this morning's list - go the bank, go to the post office, go to the cleaners, get propane for the grill, get gasoline for the lawn mower.
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:41 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post

Sounds way too much like the crap I put up with at work. I'm retired.

Other than that, I have no opinion...

I don't deal with reviews evaluating my performance anymore, thank god!
Retired since summer 1999.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:16 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by wqo3wt76 View Post
Glad you like the discussion, though I'm shocked at the level of negativity from others. Seems rather toxic.

Let's ignore the company, management & other negativity that seem to turn people off.

You tell your best friend that you are going to run 10 miles on Wednesday, at an 8:00 pace. Now you are accountable. On sunday night when your friend says, hey, I thought this was important to you - what the hell happened? Accountability is extremely powerful.

Now if your friends are fat, lazy & drunk this might not be a good example...
I think what may appear toxic to you is instead the fallout of a rather severe culture clash.

Many folks here are self-directed and can't imagine being accountable to anyone but themselves or their immediate family.

Now that we are are retired and no longer saving, like others our financial goal is simply not to run out of money before we run out of years. There isn't a whole lot we can do to achieve X dollars by Y date. That was back when we were working and saving.

Having mostly completed a fairly complex travel itinerary that required a lot of research and logistical planning, I seem to be doing pretty well with my gut level instinctive "system" for goal achievement. Oh yeah, and the home improvements - why don't we do X and put off Y - seems to be working well enough too.

Ultimately, it's the desired results that count. Aka - just do it.
Retired since summer 1999.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:56 PM   #86
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Megacorp inane goals are a great cure for OMY syndrome.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:19 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by wqo3wt76 View Post
So to clarify my username, which I might have to change to "retired at 39" or something is that I was an enterprise account manager for 15 years for F1000 customers in high end IT. It was a soul-sucking job that paid well and was one part of a multifaceted approach to FIRE.

We achieved FIRE at 39 (wife is 35) not through one big hit (stock options or whatever) and not relying on a pension but by doing the right things every single day with singular focus over the last 18 years. Keeping expenses tight, investing in different asset classes, saving our asses off and associating with high net worth, high achievers. A huge part of that is having goals that people I care about hold me to account.
My guess is you have not had enough time in ER to find yourself. I keep asking myself what I *really* want in life. Life's going by and I want to get the most out of it. Not sure I've found myself yet either but I'm trying.

But still this finding out what you *really* want in life is a tough goal. It is the thing that I would think many in FIRE still might want. I think for me it might be getting as much insight into human interactions and certain specialized interest areas is most important. That implies a depth to the developing interests.

Examples for me:
1) Regarding financial: really understanding past market behaviors and modeling my methods. Daring to be different maybe (big question on this point). Goal is to just keep my FIRE lifestyle.
2) Reading what others have said about human interactions, maybe in fictional form. Could express this in novels read per month.
3) Trying to develop new friendships ... not easy for a guy like me.
4) Keeping healthy: improving diet, exercise maintenance, etc. In corporate speak -- continual process improvement.
5) Getting good at something I was never paid to do and will never try to cash in on. For me this is art and right now it is watercolor sketching though have done lots of oils too.

Also that red stuff above. Why would you seek out people that hold you to account? That sounds like a corporate world like behavior where everyone wants a stunning resume. Wouldn't it be better to emphasize people who like you just the way you are? Just being a bit provocative here but something to think about maybe.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:39 PM   #88
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I actually do think about the SMART acronym in setting some goals (no, I never used it when I was working so it has no bad connotation to me).

In my case, the one area where I do set formal written goals is in the area of weight loss, particularly in setting short term goals. At the end of 2013, I set up a blog primarily dealing with weight loss/fitness. One of the first things that I did was to set written, public goals for the entire year. And, since then the first thing I do at the start of each month and discuss how I did on the past month's goals and then set new goal for the new month.

I've found that writing down my goals and making sure that they are measurable and attainable, for example, does help me. While it might be interesting to set a goal to lose 20 pounds in a month, it is one I would never set because it is not attainable. So, I spend quite a bit of time each month thinking about setting a goal that makes incremental progress to my overall goal (to be at a normal BMI by the end of this year), and is one that may be a stretch to meet during the month, but is one that I can reasonably attain.

As it turns out I've had to modify my goals over the course of this year, due to a trabecular bone injury to my leg. Many of my short term goals were exercise related and being told to use a walker on a non-weight bearing basis had a major impact on meeting my goals. Likewise I had goals for the entire year based upon number of average steps per day. Now that I've been told not to walk for fitness, those goals have to be changed.

The reason why I do specific goals on a monthly basis is that a goal like be at a normal BMI by the end of the year is one that I see as fine for my overall end goal. But, the attainable part is one that can be difficult. That is, I can't directly order up a weight loss of X pounds. What I find more helpful is to specify short term goals that -- if met -- will end up helping me to achieve my overall weight loss. For example, I don't set goals for each month to lose X pounds. I don't feel that is something I can directly control. My control of that is more indirect. What I do set are short term goals such as:

1. Have a calorie deficit each day of at least y00 calories as shown by my Fitbit.

2. Walk an average of 6500 steps a day (I don't do this one anymore but something like this was a goal of mine, with the number of steps increasing each month)

3. Have at least 3 vegetables or fruit each day. (I'm trying eat more vegetables and fruits and I'm working my way up to having at least 5 serving a day).

4. Keep my blog up and go to Weight Watchers meetings.

5. When sitting at my computer, get up and move for at least a couple of minutes every hour.

6. Sleep an average of 7 hours 15 minutes a day according to Fitbit.

Those were my written goals in April. I found that if I did those things, then the weight loss would take care of itself. And, I knew those things were directly under my control (well, right up to the time of having my knee MRI and being told about the trabecular bone injury and having to use a walker for over a month).

So, yes, I do believe in doing written goals for certain things. I don't have one person that I share them with. But, I do put them on the internet and I get comments from my readers and I make myself accountable by posting each month about how I did.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:38 PM   #89
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Just received the annual performance review forms. The SMART goals are baaaaaacck. (aaarrrgh)

They had disappeared for several years, but have now reared their ugly heads again. (sigh)

Only a few more years of this foolishness and I will be free.
"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for." - Epicurus
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:52 PM   #90
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Used to have more goals when I was still w*rking.

While retired, never underestimate the joy of just putzing around
Have you ever seen a headstone with these words
"If only I had spent more time at work" ... from "Busy Man" sung by Billy Ray Cyrus
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Old 07-13-2014, 01:04 PM   #91
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I guess keeping fit and healthy is a "goal"; the other one I'm working on is to ramp up spending. Up to 3% wr now. On small island off Tanzania two days ago and in London now. Expecting a good performance review this year!

No offense to OP but I truly believe all the flavor of the day performance management systems were nonsense. Ran a major water utility and budget dept set a goal for us to reduce chemical cost per million gallons produced. Yeah right, ya want your water cloudy, smelly, or with a side order of bacteria? In the end we did what we professionally thought was best for customers and told them to F off. Fact is, we were always optimizing far more parameters than you could explain to a non water operator or engineer. So no, no fan of people who are not of the business setting goals. Always believed in having good employees and trusting them to do the right thing, getting rid of them if they failed. What a novel idea; I could patent it, go on the road, and have a good cutesy acronym!
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:02 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
No offense to OP but I truly believe all the flavor of the day performance management systems were nonsense.......Always believed in having good employees and trusting them to do the right thing, getting rid of them if they failed. What a novel idea; I could patent it, go on the road, and have a good cutesy acronym!
BINGO! That sums it up perfectly.

On the performance review forms I am supposed to fill in my short-term and long-term "SMART" goals and a bunch of other nonsense.

What I would like to write:

1. Short-term goal: do my job and do it well.
2. Long-term goal: continue doing my job well and advance the objectives of the department in every way I can.

Those two goals seem pretty darn "smart" to me any way you look at it!

What I will write:

1. Blah blah blah (buzzword) blah blah blah (buzzword).
2. See #1.

Call me crazy, but all I want is management that thinks like you: the good employees keep their jobs and the others are tossed. Never going to happen where I work. The ones who buy into all the management buzzword cr@pola keep their j*bs. So buzzwords, here I come.
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:51 PM   #93
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Seriously, does anyone have a SMART goal that is meaningless but something able to be swallowed by the PHB? It's that time of year again and I'm fighting the urge to write something like, "go another year without getting so fed up I quit, or get fired." After all, it's measurable, achievable, a stretch...

Oh, the last time I did a web search on these things I came up with the following article, which I think many of you may enjoy:

"Bullshit" Is One Word, "Performance Review" Two
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:20 PM   #94
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We were almost always able to subvert the system by inserting "progress toward" type goals. or using very specific language about accomplish X by Y date, for items that had already been done. Invariably the goal setting was done well after the start of the period for which it applied and we successfully argued that they were "Yearly" goals, so it was fair to include the first part of the year too. Goals for the later part of the year were sometimes so vague they resembled "player to be named later" such as "implement first phase of next gen system per product dept request" We actually had this exact wording one year, then were able to submit all the hours worked, documents written and code checked in as "proof" that we had worked on the first phase of whatever it was that they asked for, even though they changed their mind repeatedly and no one would have been able to describe the system or what it was supposed to do, because it kept changing.
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