Don't Overstretch your Strategy
Often stretch goals are abused to push people for unrealistic goals. In that case employees see stretch goals as a threat, not a challenge they feel confident about.
Likewise, in strategy analysis
, a good strategy is a strategy that not only fits a company's wishes, but its (cap-)abilities as well. If your strategy is too ambitious and is asking for the "big stretch" especially to make fast-turnaround
happen, it may not work.
Sitkin e.a. dedicated an article in HBR (January 2017) to the problems stretch goals might cause in strategy. Companies that try - and fail - are usually in trouble already. Whereas the companies that could benefit from pushing themselves - those with strong recent performance records and resources to spare - start to be complacent and therefore avoid stretch goals. Success has made them risk-averse.
A stretch goal is very hard to reach for a company that is already in trouble, because it means not only working harder, but differently. And it needs resources for experimenting
. Companies without slack resources or experiencing weak results, are not well positioned. Companies should take bold, risky actions when they are strong rather than weak.
Source: Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller, and Kelly E. See, "The Stretch Goal Paradox", HBR 2017 Jan/Feb