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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Purpose Over Targets

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I recently gave someone my business card, because he asked for it during an interesting conversation. A few days later, to my surprise, it turns out he had added me to his personal business mailing list, and I received one promotional email after another.

I hate that.

The purpose of my work is to help many people be happy in their work. Of course, I also have a mailing list. I use it to send people articles that maybe will help them improve their jobs, and be happy. In order to push my performance I could set myself a target, such as “2500 subscribers before the end of the year”. By reaching more people I could possibly help more people, and fulfill my purpose. And yes, every now and then I ask my contacts, “Do you want to be on my mailing list?” Nothing wrong with that, I think.

Of course, I could add all 7,000 contacts in my database to the mailing list. That would make me reach my target right now. Woohoo! But, would it help me with my purpose? I don’t think so.

People would hate me.

That’s the difference between a purpose and a target. And that’s why I don’t like how many apply the SMART model for goals, because the SMART model moves people’s attention away from a purpose to a target. Your targets are useless if you can’t identify your purpose.

A well-defined SMART goal helps you decide how to reach your target. Your purpose should help you realize how not to reach it.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)