Two Theories on Goal Setting


There are two competing theories on goal setting. We covered both of them last week:

Both theories have their advocates. And both have their detractors. So the question is, which one works best?

And as is often the case, the answer is, it depends. In this case, it depends on how you define what a goal is.

The benefits of using more achievable goals are improved morale from attaining said goals. It can bring teams closer together, and increase passion for the work at hand. People who argue for this approach define a goal is something they expect to be able to achieve. Goals, in this case, are an expectation, a predicted result.

Detractors would say that’s not a goal. A goal is something beyond the expected result. Because a goal should be used to motivate people to overperform. That’s why they use stretch goals. Achieving expectations is all well and good, but in order to improve over time, they set stretch goals their teams can aspire toward.

In the case of stretch goals, coming up short is okay. In fact, if you always hit your goals, you are not setting them high enough, they’ll argue.

So how do you define goals? The answer to that question is the answer to which approach will work best for you.