DUMB Goals for Fallible People
The language of perfection is non-sense for fallible people. Speaking infallibility to the fallible is a sure recipe for alienation and delusion. As language forms the bedrock of culture, language of infallibility sets up those speaking it for hypocrisy and those listening for scepticism and cynicism. One thing is for sure. In an industry that loves counting and the attribution of meaning to statistics, there can never be zero anything with fallible people.
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We never set perfection goals in our businesses, we always set SMART goals. SMART goals are: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Limited. Goals that are DUMB : Deny Fallibility, Undignify Humans, Mismanage Uncertainty and Bugger-Up Paradox.
Perfection goals set for fallible people are DUMB goals.
One cannot preach perfection to people and then expect compassion and understanding for mistakes. One can’t speak perfection to people and then expect learning from experience. One cannot preach perfection to people and hope to create a resilient workforce.
Every time there is an Olympics we witness humans going to the extremities in skills and experience but no one expects the impossible. We saw many examples of this at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. And when people compete at the elite level we still don’t expect perfection. You never hear elite athletes talk nonsense goals to each other. They know that such language most often ‘primes’ choking and failure. Athletes know to set SMART goals. Business knows to talk SMART goals. Safety is the only industry that talks DUMB goals. The World Safety Congress 2017 proved that.
There is nothing motivational about DUMB goals. There is nothing visionary about DUMB goals. No one is inspired by DUMB goals or DUMB language. Indeed, DUMB goals set for fallible people are a source of depression and anxiety. When it comes to risk the only goal language that makes sense is SMART language.