January is a time for setting new goals. And, as always when I’m thinking about new goals, I’m reminded of the great line from the Dilbert cartoon, “Stretch goals are like stretch pants – they’re a sign that you’ve given up hope!”

In fact, there’s probably only one thing riskier than stretch goals and that’s overly risk-averse goals. While some leaders talk about ‘moonshots’ without the faintest idea of how they’re going to achieve their ambitions, others reduce their big goals into such tiny targets that they paradoxically reduce their chances of success.

One business I worked with was planning to enter a new market sector. The executive team had initially discussed a three-year sales goal for the niche that was equivalent to a 5% share. However, several directors were nervous about achieving the goal and so it was reduced –by nearly 80%! Unfortunately, the new goal was so small, so insignificant and so risk-averse that the initiative didn’t get the resources or attention needed to achieve even its limited sales targets. As a result, just 12 months later, the initiative was dropped.

To set a goal is to make a commitment. It is a message to yourself and others that you intend to make a difference. The truth is, though, that you will only get an organisation engaged around a goal if the level of commitment required is both meaningful and significant. Only then will you benefit from the organisation’s collective focus, energy, enthusiasm and zest.

After all, who wants to focus their precious time and effort on helping someone climb the smallest hill, row across the narrowest lake or send a rocket to the nearest village?

Off The Record: Lippy Kids by Elbow

Though I never perfected the simian stroll

The cigarette scent, it was everything then

Do they know those days are golden

Build a rocket boys!

Build a rocket boys!

The Time for Bold Moves

Growing through and beyond the pandemic requires bold actions, not timid plans. These 5 steps can help you to accelerate growth and transform your market position.

© Stuart Cross 2021. All rights reserved.