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Own goals?

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I have always been rather suspicious of goals. So I was delighted (!) to find a recent post by Jeff Trexler pointing to this Harvard Business School paper and a Boston Globe article on “Why setting goals can backfire“.

The late, great coaches’ coach Thomas Leonard remarked in 1989 that “goals are overrated and unnecessary”. Perhaps some evidence that he was right is  finally starting to emerge.

As the HBS paper succinctly puts it, it’s not that goal setting doesn’t work. It’s that it’s “a prescription-strength medication that requires careful dosing, consideration of harmful side effects, and close supervision.”

So take care. Be careful what you aim for.

Author: Pete Burden

New ways to organise and lead - for people with 'purpose' #leadership #inquiry #noticing #complexity #communication

One thought on “Own goals?

  1. Michelangelo said “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

    This is to do with under valuing ourselves, which ironically our education system teaches many of us to do.

    As the paper suggests is isn’t goal seeting itself that is the problem but what you do with it.

    As you say, Peter, be careful what you aim for…..but heed Michelangelo’s advice and don’t aim too low.

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