Setting Stretch Goals for Your Business

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February, 2020

Strategic goals play a pivotal role in the achievement of organizational success.  Although setting specific, clear, and time-constrained goals can help your enterprise achieve targeted growth, they can sometimes make the workforce be complacent.  This is a reason why organizations set stretch goals for their businesses.

Great leaders not only expect their employees to accomplish typical business goals, but also push them to extend their limits and raise the bar to encourage improved performance.  Stretch goals push individuals to aim higher, produce innovative results, and work to destabilize the status quo.

What are Stretch Goals?

Simply put, a stretch goal is a business target that is aggressively ambitious and is set beyond your current capability and output.  It refers to a business target that is designed to be seemingly impossible for a workforce to achieve. Stretch goals are set to eradicate the tendency for enterprises, teams, and individuals to become accustomed to the everyday company goals that don’t require them to crawl out of their comfort zones.

Since a stretch goal is deemed unattainable, failure to achieve it isn’t viewed negatively.  Stretch goals are set alongside the regular business goals, but accomplishing them is considered to be exceptional performance.  They are not judged on the basis of success or failure, since they are designed to challenge employees to put extra effort. When the right conditions and environment are set in an organization, stretch goals can inspire a new level of energy, commitment, and performance.

Why You Should Set Stretch Goals for Your Organization

 

They Help Build Confidence

Achieving goals that are set high helps employees become more confident.  By setting stretch goals, you challenge your employees to try and attain targets that are deemed impossible.  When they manage to achieve or edge closer to these targets, the overall experience instills a certain kind of self-belief.  Charismatic inspirations and challenging motivation talks don’t build confidence. It is real business achievements that do. Stretch goals help you build momentum and unearth capabilities that you didn’t know existed.

They Bring Productive Discomfort

When you get accustomed to setting and accomplishing similar goals every year, it reaches a point where they don’t even scare you.  You become complacent since you understand what you’ve got to do to achieve the target. However, by setting stretch goals, you bring some discomfort that forces goal-oriented professionals to think of new ideas and innovative strategies to get things done.  The uncomfortable environment helps employees unleash their hidden potentials and spur productivity and growth. When you start feeling uncomfortable, you are forced to start doing things differently.

Helps You Adapt and Become Resilient

When your organization sets goals that are presumably considered impossible to archive, you learn to move with the wave and develop a thick skin.  The ferociously unstable business environment doesn’t favor individuals who aren’t willing to extend their limits. Setting stretch goals allows your workforce to get used to grappling with more robust objectives, thereby reducing the chances of your business being crippled by a sudden shock that might make you tighten your everyday goal.  They train you to exert self-control even when things get out of control.

Is Your Company Ready for Stretch Goals?

Although you may feel that your company is ready for stretch goals, just because you have the expertise, money, and a motivated and energized workforce, you should take time to consider other things.  Creating and setting feasible stretch goals requires a delicate balance of resources, timing, and managerial expertise. Overstretching your workforce can have some devastating consequences. Over-ambitious targets, which are often embodied with lucrative rewards, can lead to employees taking unnecessary risks or engaging in unethical behaviors.

A perfect example of a company that had stretch goals backfire is Wells Fargo.  Renowned for being an industry leader in cross-selling, Wells Fargo’s management overreached its abilities by setting over-ambitious cross-sale goals.  The burden of increased responsibility tricked down to individual employees who, due to lack of enough resources, resulted in unethical behaviors. As a result, over 3.5 million accounts were opened fraudulently, which led to hefty fines and class action payments.

“Therefore, as a business you must ensure that your stretch goals align with the existing conditions in your organization.  Check all existing momentum and capacity to ensure that your company is ready for this ambitious adventure.”

Key Elements to Keep in Mind

Perfect timing is ideal when introducing ambitious business targets.  Employees who have just completed a series of successful projects exude a positive momentum and will be more energized and engaged by new tasks.  However, if your workforce has been struggling to accomplish “standard” targets, stretch goals are not the solution to their mediocre performance.

Additionally, you should ensure that you have the right resources in your organization.  A resilient, engaged, and motivated team is not enough to take your stretch goals head-on and turn them into reality if you don’t have the right resources to execute.  You should ensure that you have enough reserves to provide your workforce with capital, time, and equipment. This will enable them to think outside the box, innovate, and develop new ideas.  If your company is experiencing a shortage of resources, you must focus on core competencies rather than doom your organization’s future with an overly ambitious endeavor.

Conversely, you should ensure that your organizational management chooses targets that align with the needs and future objectives of the company.  One significant challenge that many organizations face is developing and trying to accomplish complex goals and objectives that are blunt, too abstract, and irrelevant.  If you want to set stretch goals that resonate with your organization, stop taking the one-size-fits-all approach. You need to develop goals through coordinated plans, make the team’s value and personal development goals a consideration, and ensure that the set goals align with the business needs.

Final Verdict

 

Setting stretch goals is not something for the management alone to decide.  It should involve various stakeholders in a company. Therefore, if you want to know which strategy will work best for your organization, you need to take an in-depth and more nuanced look into your team’s capabilities, resources, and business needs.  Having carefully developed stretch goals ensures that even if you miss the target, you will have the experience to deal with any business goal of the same magnitude in the future.

How Pinnacle Consulting Can Help
Strategic plans are best created by partnering with a management consultant who uses their expertise to outline your vision, mission, objectives, initiatives, and KPIs that will successfully transform your business. The first step to building your strategy plan is working with a professional who understands where you are now and where you want to be tomorrow.

Pinnacle Consulting provides strategic planning and management consulting leadership to organizations, creating efficient operations and exceptional execution, and facilitating strategic business growth. We provide:

Business Strategy Consulting
Measurement and Monitoring Services
Program and Project Management Services
Management Consulting Services
To find out more about us and how we can help your business thrive, contact us. We look forward to working with you.

Pinnacle Consulting

 

Strategic plans are best created by partnering with a management consultant who uses their expertise to outline your vision, mission, objectives, initiatives, and KPIs that will successfully transform your business. The first step to building your strategic plan is working with a professional who understands where you are now and where you want to be tomorrow.

Pinnacle Consulting provides strategic planning and management consulting leadership to organizations, creating efficient operations and exceptional execution, and facilitating strategic business growth. We provide:

  • Business Strategy Consulting
  • Measurement and Monitoring Services
  • Program and Project Management Services
  • Management Consulting Services

To find out more about us and how we can help you and your business, contact.