How To Move From S.M.A.R.T. Goals To F.A.S.T. Goals

basecamp May 18, 2020

Today we're going to talk about goals, goal setting, and we're gonna move from S.M.A.R.T. goals to F.A.S.T. goals. Why? Because we're in the middle of a pandemic, and speed is what is going to give you more opportunity to get through the end of this crisis and to keep your business going to the end of this crisis.


Adaptability is key, moving quickly is key, faster to decide and faster to execute is what is going to get you to the other end.

So I know that you're familiar with S.M.A.R.T. goals which are

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

We're going to switch from that to F.A.S.T. which are...

  • Frequently Discussed
  • Ambitious
  • Specific
  • Transparent

Frequently Discussed

This is completely different from what you're used to with goals, but right now communication, you're not gonna get through this by thinking your way out of it. You have to talk, and you have to talk to as many people as you possibly can, and that means your team, your customers, your suppliers, your partners, your potential partners, and you need to do it often.

With your team, you need to be talking to them. The daily huddles, that needs to be happening twice a day right now. Keeping your team aligned, consistently aligned so that they are executing flawlessly every single day is gonna keep the company moving forward. You're either gonna be pivoting or you're gonna be rebuilding.

You need to keep your people aligned and talking on a regular basis. You need to be getting the right data quickly, and that data may be changing on a daily basis so you need to have that information. You need to also tell whoever it is that's gathering that data, especially if it's your accountant, "Look, now is not the time to try to find the last penny, "or the last nickel, or the last quarter." I know accountants that are like that.

What you need is really close and fast, not 100% accurate three days from now. We need it now. Don't make assumptions. Now is not the time to just assume well, that's not gonna happen, we can't do this, they're doing that.

Make sure you are talking to them, again talking, and that everybody knows exactly who's doing what and when it is due. Make no assumptions, it is not the time. Twice a day daily huddles to keep everybody aligned and now they're focused. And focus drives calm, and that's what you want in your team.


I'm sure you're familiar with the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). That is your 10-year goal, we're making 10 million, we're making 50 million in 10 years, whatever it is. We're not focusing on our BHAG right now.

Right now we have to focus on the next four weeks, three months, six months, 10 months. So our goal is going to be a little different. Right now we have to re-strategize, but that goal needs to be ambitious 'cause you have to assume that you're not going to be getting one additional dollar from your traditional revenue stream in the next six months.

Now I'm not trying to be the gloom and doom, but as I talked about the Stockdale Paradox, you have to accept the brutal facts. You have to recognize and identify the brutal facts, and the brutal fact is you have a good chance of not receiving one additional dollar of traditional revenue over the next six months. Okay, what are you gonna do?

Well, be ambitious. Hope for the best because the Stockdale Paradox says yes, "recognize the brutal facts and be relentlessly hopeful." You're gonna figure it out, it's gonna work out. You are in this to play to win. You have to have an ambitious mindset.

You have to ask yourself, "What are the new opportunities "that we can seize right now?", and then "How can we adapt and take advantage "of those new opportunities?" Play it to win it.


Clarity also drives calm. When people know exactly what's expected of them, they can behave in a more calm manner. I'm gonna tell you a story.

I am very lucky to be part of a team of incredibly high-thought leaders in the larger business consulting and coaching industry, and they worked with a company in Ireland called the City Bin Company, it's a trash collecting company. They started working with this gentleman, Gene in 2010. It was a terrible economic crisis in Ireland in 2010 so they started working together.

When they started working, Gene had a goal of increasing his monthly recurring revenue by 40,000 pounds per month. He did it in three months, and he continued to go on and grow the business over the next 10 years.

I found out that they did a check-in with Gene at the beginning of this crisis. He had a new goal. He wanted to increase his monthly recurring revenue by 150,000 pounds over the next three months. So he worked it out, that's 50,000 pounds a month.

Well in four weeks he already surpassed his goal up to 80,000 pounds per month of monthly recurring income at the beginning of a pandemic. He couldn't have done it if he wasn't very specific and ambitious.


If you have bad news, be transparent with it. Give it to them first. Do not try to sandwich it between two pieces of good news and hope that it's going to go down better. It's not. If you have bad news, tell them.

I was working for a technology company right before the dot com crash. When it crashed, we lost all of our funding. We didn't know what was gonna happen, but I had to layoff 35 people in one day. I sucked it up, I got my courage, and I was transparent with them.

I didn't try to gloss over it, I didn't try to make it better, there was no making it better. It was the truth, the cold, hard facts, and I told them. And a lot of them, including myself, stuck around for another two weeks without pay in hopes that things would reverse. They didn't because history tells us what happened. But I firmly believe because we took the stance of being transparent, they appreciated and respected the honesty.

Treat your people with transparency and honesty. Don't call them the night before to tell them the bad news at eight o'clock when everything was fine at four o'clock in the afternoon. Don't break up with them on a Post-it.

I remember a Sex and the City episode where Carrie Bradshaw was broken up with. Her boyfriend broke up with her on a Post-it note. The entire episode was about how he didn't have the courage, I wanna say something else, how he didn't have the courage to face her. That's all she wanted was the courage to face her and tell her face-to-face, eye-to-eye, "It's not working." And that's what your staff, that's what your people want.

So if you have to do that, be transparent. So by working with a F.A.S.T. goal and planning hourly, daily, and weekly, you're going to have a better chance of getting to the other side of this.

Now I get it, it's easier said than done. We are in so much chaos. How can you possibly plan and strategize in the midst of all of this chaos? Because it's a choice. You can choose to either give up or do the work.

If you ever read the book or saw the movie "The Martian", do the math, work the problem. And if you work enough problems, you just might get to go home.

If you would like more information on how to turn your business around and grow your business so that you can have more cash and a lot less stress, let's schedule a call today.

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