Stretch Goals

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Description of Stretch Goals. Explanation.

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Definition Stretch Goals. Description.


Stretch Goals is a term coined by Jack Welch at GE to denote those objectives which are seemingly unobtainable with present resources. By specifying the "unattainable", people are required to "think outside the box", and able to improve performance by a magnitude they had never thought possible.


If done right, a stretch target, which basically is an extremely ambitious goal, gets people to perform in ways they never imagined possible. But if the organization does not provide their people with the knowledge, tools, and means to meet such ambitious goals, the effects of setting Stretch Goals can be outright disastrous.


Some generic advice on working with Stretch Goals is:

  • By definition, Stretch Goals are very difficult to meet. So don't punish people for not achieving them.
  • Don't set goals that stretch your employees crazily.
  • Understand that stretch targets can unexpectedly affect other parts of the organization.
  • Don't give tough Stretch Goals to people already pushing themselves to the limit.
  • Share the wealth generated by reaching Stretch Goals.

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Compare with: CSFs and KPIs  |  Management by Objectives  |  Result Oriented Management  |  Balanced Scorecard  |  Strategy Maps  |  Catalytic Mechanisms  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Illusion of Control Bias  |  Incentives  |  Peter Principle  |  Span of Control  |  Time Management

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