Newsletter: Setting Stretch Goals

S-t-r-e-t-c-h Goals are crucial in the creation of breakthrough results.

Setting Stretch Goals that motivate you and inspire your team to achieve extraordinary results is a worthy but difficult task.

Have you ever set a goal that left everyone frustrated and de-motivated, because they see the goal as out of reach and impossible? Or, have you ever set a goal that was too easy, you achieved the goal but still did not get the breakthrough results you were looking for?

Stretch goals are not used to reach ordinary short-term objectives, but to drive achievement and results to a new level currently viewed as impossible.  Stretch goals must cause people to move beyond their current way of thinking. As Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

When setting a stretch goal, remember that it must be sufficiently difficult to cause people to think, “We can’t accomplish this by doing things the same old way, and we are going to have to do things differently.” However, the stretch goal can’t be so difficult that people give up, thinking the task is absolutely impossible.

Compelling reasons for setting Stretch Goals:

  • Fun. In effect, you create a game worth playing. Who would sit down and play a board game knowing that he had a 95% chance of winning?
  • Achievement.       The more difficult the goal, the greater the sense of achievement
  • Buck the ordinary. Setting Stretch Goals causes you to and your team to think and act differently. If you don’t demand something out of the ordinary, then you will continue to achieve the same results you’ve always achieved.
  • On Target.       Commitment is highest when you and your team see the goal as important and are convinced that significant progress is possible.
  • Trailblazing. Setting Stretch Goals means embracing the need for change and a break away from old traditions and habits.
  • Out of the Box. Setting Stretch Goals causes you to think differently.

Use these components in setting Stretch Goals:

  • Stretch Goals that are both specific and difficult lead to the breakthrough performance
  • Focused on long-term meaningful objectives
  • Should not be so great as to de-motivate yourself and others.
  • Must be linked to your overall strategy.
  • You must clearly articulate why this goal should be achieved.

Set Stretch Goals for yourself or your organization. Fill in the following blanks:

  1. I am committed to the possibility of [___________________________________________]
    examples (achieving x results, being a new way – like not being stressed out, creating growth opportunities for my people, spending more time with my kids, . . .) These goals require a new way of thinking or acting.
  2. The reason that I want this bad enough to work hard at it is because… [_____________________________]
    (Why this is important to you)
    The motivation to follow through comes from the Why you want the Goal more than the goal itself.
  3. To accomplish this Stretch Goal, I am willing to give up [_____________________________________]
    examples (my excuses, ineffective habits, needing to always be right, . . . )
    Realizing you must give something up to achieve your goal breaks the cycle of doing things the same old way and expecting different results.
  4. Key actions I must take to accomplish this Stretch Goal is: [_________________________________]
    (weekly & monthly specific measurable actions )
  5. Identify another person to be your Coach. Share your goal and action plan with your Coach and schedule 30 minutes twice per month to tell your Coach what you have done to achieve this goal.
  6. Celebrate your successes.