Okay, so they say it’s good to have stretch goals – moonshots, BHAGs. But why? And how do we know it’s the right one?
Stretch goals get us motivated and assist in the release of adrenaline, which moves us into action. Once we’re in motion, we should have a process in place to keep the momentum – from regular check-ins to track progress, to the celebrations that get the dopamine flowing and reflections to ensure we keep getting better.
Big, stretch goals require risk-taking. It is the makeup of strategy, and strategy is a hypothesis. It’s a guess about the future, and then taking action to pursue that future.
I have a friend who started pursuing a degree at age 40. I said to him “so if you do this and you finish in 4 years, you’ll be 44. How does that make you feel?”. He replied, “If I don’t do this, I’ll still be 44 in 4 years, and I won’t be done!”. He had a hypothesis about what his future should look like and took action to pursue it – long term, consistent, coherent action. Sidenote: he didn’t have 100% confidence that it was the right thing to do, but still found a way to take action. If anyone tells you they’re 100% confident in their strategy, I’ll doubt their ability. And when confidence exceeds ability, you often land up with your face in the dirt.
You can’t get to this level of long term, consistent, coherent action without alignment. Stretch goals need alignment and buy-in. Why? Without vertical alignment, there will be no consistency in the long term. Without horizontal alignment, there will be no coherence. Without buy-in, there’s a bigger chance that the goals are prone to cognitive biases.
Organisations are organic, not mechanic. Alignment is created through organic conversations, feedback, brainstorming, reflection, and so forth.
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