Unrealistic Goals vs. Stretch Goals: The Fine Line risely newsletter

Unrealistic Goals vs. Stretch Goals: The Fine Line

An incredible journey starts with a goal. As the new year is slowly ebbing towards the end of its first phase, it sets an excellent opportunity to review your goals and performance. Unfortunately, goal fatigue and low rates of achieving objectives are too common for us, whether in the workplace or in personal goals. In today’s edition of The Top newsletter, we will see what managers can do to stay ahead of their goals for the rest of the year! 

One of the most common problems in goal-setting lies in the nature of the goals themselves. Achieving a goal takes many things. For instance, you need resources to get the job done, a healthy environment to free your mind, and supportive team members to pull you out of traps when trouble strikes. But before all of these, are your goals designed to be achievable? 

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Let’s sit back for a minute and look at the world running on. There’s speed, and there’s great competition. No one wants to be left behind, so the goals keep climbing new heights – until they are straight-up unreasonable! Unrealistic goals seem like a good way to motivate teams to push harder than ever, but they cause substantial damage too. The constant feeling of falling short overwhelms the mind while the chase tires down the body. All of it creates a straight route to burnout in professionals. So, before anything else, take a moment to free yourself from the trap of unrealistically high goals. 

Check out more information about unrealistic goals and how to not set them here. 

While unrealistic goals are definitely a no-no, your goals should certainly offer challenges and build motivation to do more. The caveat lies in setting challenging goals that fuel your ambition but are still guided by pragmatism. For managers and working professionals, these fall under the category of stretch goals. 

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Stretch goals exist over the main objectives set by the team. The primary goals are set to achieve a reasonable increase or to sustain performance levels, and the stretch goals are placed above and beyond those limits. They are great motivators to do more than the bare minimum and exceed limits set by our minds. It presents an excellent opportunity for team managers to boost motivation and create a sense of purpose. Attaching them to additional rewards and learning opportunities makes it furthermore exciting.

Sounds interesting right? You can read more here to know all you need about stretch goals. 

Stretch goals are just one way of designing your goals to excel. Beyond that, to keep goals working over a more extended period, you will need a goal-setting framework to keep the process moving. Goal-setting frameworks are structures that make goal-setting and tracking more accessible for managers. In addition, it helps replicate efficient practices and inculcates a team culture over time.

Some of the most popular goal-setting frameworks are Smart goals and OKRs. Smart goals set criteria for managers who are in the process of defining goals. Whether the goals are for yourself or your team, they are more likely to succeed when they are more innovative yet transparent. On the other hand, OKRs reverse the view. The process starts by defining the objectives the team wants to achieve and returns while describing the actions and results needed regularly to make them true. 

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These are not the only goal-setting frameworks loved by managers globally. You can check out the top 9 goal-setting frameworks managers use here to learn more about them. 

Apart from looking into goal-setting frameworks, there are many ways to ensure you achieve your goals. Involving the team in the process of identifying goals is one such way. It helps them connect and builds accountability. Similarly, you can look into the best practices followed by renowned leaders to get more insights. Combining these inputs would lead you to a unique goal-setting strategy that suits you and your team. 

Goal-setting tools and frameworks make the process easier by generalizing tried and tested learnings of all managers and team leaders globally. Some might fit your deck precisely, while some may not. With trial and error, you can find the most suitable goals for you and your team. 

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