When is achieving all your goals not good enough?

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So, we’ve closed the books on another year, and it’s time to review your performance.  Maybe you’ve completed all your goals -- congratulations you’ve failed.  Failed? How could that be, I’ve completed all my goals? And therein lies the problem, you didn’t set your goals (or the bar) high enough for your own performance.  Goals by definition are aspirations and should be set high enough to stretch the organization and yourself in new directions.  If you are constantly beating your goals, you’re not stretching enough. 

But why don’t we set our goals high enough? Well, it’s complicated. It has a lot to do with you, and with equal parts of your companies’ culture and goal setting process. 

Take this simple test:

  1. When setting your goals, are you more focused on ensuring it’s achievable versus the actual goal?

  2. When engaging your team around the goals, are you setting expectations of achievement, or just going through the motions? i.e. we have to do this.

  3. Are time frames for goal completion clearly set so as to make them appear real?

  4. What are the consequences for not completing goals? Is your team comfortable with stretching themselves to the point of failure?

  5. Have you set a firm number on how many goals are acceptable? Hint: less is more in goal setting and engagement.

Hopefully you were able to answer yes to all of these questions, any less than that may indicate your goal setting process could use some attention.

Organizations are in tremendous change, truly innovative organizations understand that to succeed, you must occasionally fail.  Failure is where true innovation and creativity are born.  Imagine if the Wright Brothers gave up after their first unsuccessful flight at Kitty Hawk, or if Edison gave up after the first light bulb didn’t work.  The history books are full of highly successful men and women who tell stories of failure as being the corner stone of all their future success.  So, go out there, take a chance and set the bar high in 2019.  You’ll be glad you did!