I have a friend by the name of Adam Kreek. Adam is an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, and a guy who just happens to know a lot about setting goals. Not only did he win a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with his Canadian rowing team, but he and three other rowers came within a few days of completing their row across the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, a rogue wave capsized their boat after 73 grueling days at sea.

We're all familiar with SMART goals--the acronym that has been used by business authors for decades to describe the key elements of effective goals. In case you're a little rusty on the subject, SMART stands for goals that are:

Specific (Goals must be clear and unambiguous)

Measurable (Results must be able to be measured in some way, for example, the number of products sold each week, or the percent completion)

Attainable (Goals must be realistic and attainable by the average employee)

Relevant (Goals must relate to your organization's vision and mission)

Time-bound (Goals must have definite starting and ending points, and a fixed duration)

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. CLEAR stands for:

Collaborative (Goals should encourage employees to work together collaboratively and in teams)

Limited (Goals should be limited in both scope and duration)

Emotional (Goals should make an emotional connection to employees, tapping into their energy and passion)

Appreciable (Large goals should be broken down into smaller goals so they can be accomplished more quickly and easily for long-term gain)

Refinable (Set goals with a headstrong and steadfast objective, but as new situations or information arise, give yourself permission to refine and modify your goals)

Says Kreek, "When we prepared for our Atlantic crossing, our higher goal was to cross the Atlantic Ocean, but we also created three rules to support that higher goal. The first rule was don't die, the second rule was don't kill your mates, and the third was don't sink your boat. So look after yourself, look after each other, and look after your equipment."

When you set a goal, whether in business, career, or life, it must be a clear and compelling statement--one that can be built out, embraced, and acted upon by every member of the team. Use Adam Kreek's acronym CLEAR to ensure your big goals unite your team instead of dividing it.

What are your CLEAR goals?