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C.L.E.A.R. vs S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums General Forums Methodology C.L.E.A.R. vs S.M.A.R.T. Goals

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  • #55458

    Brent
    Participant

    The impression I have is that SMART goals are better for process improvement or operational efficiencies, and CLEAR goals are better for green-field development, innovation or massive transformation. Here are related articles:

    However, all the Six Sigma literature I’ve seen references only SMART goals. Are CLEAR goals somehow considered incompatible with Six Sigma?

    My question should make sense context-free, but I will include context in case anyone is interested…

    I am engaged with a client where I will be transforming their engineering/IT from chaos-driven-development into a Agile/KanBan/DevOps philosophy and process.

    Also, this client is simultaneously interested in Six Sigma. They have Six Sigma project templates that, again, assume SMART goals. I want to modify the template on a project-by-project basis, to permit CLEAR goals where I think they make more sense.

    Is that a problem?

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    #200081

    Robert Butler
    Participant

    As they used to say back in the early days of drag racing – this is just a case of whipping up foam in the froth box. The only difference I can see between S.M.A.R.T and C.L.E.A.R is one of playing games with words.

    The notion that six sigma methods are somehow limited to improvement of existing processes and are somehow anathema to efforts focused on generating new ideas/products is one that has been around for a long time. As someone who has spent a lot of time in both arenas (existing process improvement and new idea/product development) I would have to disagree. All six sigma is about is organized inquiry and organized inquiry is the approach one should take regardless of the task at hand…or as was said back in 1910…

    “In matters of scientific investigation the method that should be employed is think, plan, calculate, experiment, and first, last, and always think. The method most often employed is wonder, guess, putter, theorize, guess again, and above all avoid calculation.”

    – A.G. Webster 1910

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    #200083

    Chris Seider
    Participant

    Yes, have a measureable metric that’s precise/accurate enough and have a baseline and have a target or goal. Without those, it becomes a bunch of activities without impacting the business.

    Nice reply @rbutler

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    #200085

    Brent
    Participant

    @rbutler Thank you for joining the discussion on this. I’m particularly curious about my question:

    Are CLEAR goals somehow considered incompatible with Six Sigma?

    Are they?

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    #200086

    Robert Butler
    Participant

    I believe I answered your question. I said the two acronyms are just playing with words. In other words no incompatibility and no real difference – CLEAR is just saying SMART but with warm fuzzies and vagueness tossed in to give a contrary impression.

    However, my read of the article you cited – Forget SMART try CLEAR Goals Instead – leaves me with the impression that the author of that piece thinks they are incompatible. Specifically he says “The problem with SMART goals is that they just haven’t kept up with the faster, more-agile environment that most businesses find themselves in today. According to Adam, these new business environments require a new way of setting goals, thus CLEAR goals.”

    I suppose you could take these two sentences to imply that SMART is just and old and creaky version of CLEAR but when those two sentences are combined with the final sentence in the article “Use Adam Kreek’s acronym CLEAR to ensure your big goals unite your team instead of dividing it.” the impression I am left with is that the author is claiming incompatibility.

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    #200087

    Chris Seider
    Participant

    I finally read them after @rbutler did. I find it interesting….the notion that a goal wouldn’t be collaborative to help an organization is mind boggling. How does one get sustained change without buy in and understanding.

    Limited “of cLear” means proper project scoping–nothing new. However, change requires alignment in the business also and too limited of projects won’t ever move the company or locale’s KPI’s.

    SMART seems good enough but hey–it was an interesting article to see CLEAR

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