Setting and Achieving Stretch Goals: How to Propel Your Business Further
Most people think of goals as something that is easily attainable- a stepping stone to what they want to achieve. But what if you set the bar higher? What if you set goals that were a bit out of reach, but still possible?
This is what stretch goals are all about. They propel businesses further and give employees and managers something to aim for that would usually be beyond their normal results. Use stretch goals to track, record, and reach goals that you never thought were possible.
In this blog post, we will discuss how to use stretch goals in your business and for your employees. We will also explore the benefits of setting stretch goals and the challenges you may face when trying to achieve them. Finally, we will offer some tips for success as well as good stretch goal examples!
What Is a Stretch Goal Anyway?
A stretch goal is a specific, measurable goal that is set higher than what you would normally achieve. It’s the next step up, and it can be used to motivate employees and track progress. Stretch goals should still be achievable- but they offer a greater challenge and push your business further.
Some stretch goals will prove impossible to reach but they can still push your business further than its been before. They can be used to inspire employees and to create a competitive environment where everyone is striving to do their best.
Stretch goals can be used as an additional goal for the company if they are able to exceed the requirements of the original goal. This kind of method is particularly common among crowdfunding projects. Fundraisers will include laddered stretch goals to encourage additional funds beyond the minimum.
Including more than one stretch can be beneficial as it will reduce the risk of every goal not being reached. This also allows for a variety of rewards that can be given when certain goals are passed.
How to Use Stretch Goals in Business
There are many ways that you can use stretch goals in your business. You may want to set them as targets for specific teams, departments, or use them as overall objectives for the company. They can also be used as a motivation for meeting deadlines or reaching a specific goal.
Stretch goals can be used to track progress and inspire employees to do their best. They can also help to create a competitive environment where everyone is striving to achieve more than what they did before. Working towards a new goal can be exciting for employees and help to increase overall productivity
When setting stretch goals for your business, it’s important that you make sure they are achievable- but still provide a challenge. You don’t want them so easy that they’re not worth the effort, but you also don’t want them so impossible that people give up before trying. This takes some careful planning and forethought on your part.
How to Use Stretch Goals for Employees
Assigning stretch goals can be a great way to build up your employee’s personal development. You can use them to challenge your employees and help them grow. When assigning stretch goals, make sure that you take the employee’s abilities into account. You don’t want to set a goal that is impossible for someone to achieve.
Stretch goals can also be used as part of an employee development plan or performance review. This will give you a way to track their progress and see how they are doing overall.
There are many benefits to using stretch goals for employees. Not only do they help with personal growth, but they can also improve productivity and motivation in the workplace. They can even increase creativity and problem-solving skills!
When setting stretch goals for employees, it’s important to keep in mind what their current abilities are as well as what you would like them to achieve in the future. You also want to make sure that the goals are achievable and provide a challenge for employees.
Benefits of Setting Stretch Goals
There are many benefits to setting stretch goals for your business. Some of these include:
- Increased productivity. Stretch goals can lead to a temporary boost in productivity as employees feel inspired and motivated to reach the goal.
- Improved creativity. Stretch goals can help to increase creativity as employees are forced to come up with new ways to reach the goal. it’s a great way to encourage your staff to engage in creative thinking and find time and cost-saving solutions
- Increased motivation. Achieving a stretch goal can be very motivational and can help to keep employees focused on their work. If you notice motivation has started to wane in your department, a stretch goal can help to unite the team.
- Improved problem-solving skills. Stretch goals can help employees to develop their problem-solving skills as they will need to come up with new ways to reach the goal. This can be very beneficial in the long run.
- Increased teamwork. Achieving a stretch goal can help to build teamwork as employees will need to work together to reach the goal.
- Additional funding. Stretch goals can sometimes lead to businesses being able to secure additional funding. This is because potential investors or partners will see that the company has a solid plan.
- Build enthusiasm. When a company meets or even exceeds its stretch goals, it can create enthusiasm throughout the organization. This is because people will see that the company is capable of much more.
Challenges of Setting Stretch Goals
Before we dive into some stretch goal examples, it’s only fair that we cover the problems that arise with this method. Although there are a number of great benefits, stretch goals can be very challenging for employees.
Here are some of the issues you and your team may have to deal with:
- Higher risk of failure. When you set a stretch goal, there is always the chance that it will not be met. This can lead to disappointment and frustration on the part of employees.
- Increased workload. In order to meet a stretch goal, employees may have to put in extra hours or work at a faster pace than usual. This can lead to stress and burnout if it’s done for too long.
- Time constraints. Stretch goals often require a tight timeline in order to be successful- something which can be difficult to achieve when working under pressure.
- Goal overload. If you assign too many stretch goals at once, employees may feel overwhelmed and stressed out. This can lead to a decrease in productivity and motivation.
- Bad business practices. If your employees feel that the company is setting stretch goals for the wrong reasons (such as to make up for poor performance in other areas), it can lead to a loss of trust.
- Shortcuts. If your team doesn’t have the skills or experience required for what you’re asking, they may take shortcuts. This can lead to low-quality work and missed deadlines.
- Interrupts roadmap. When a company is trying to reach a stretch goal, it can interrupt the original roadmap and cause confusion. Don’t let an unrealistic goal get in the way of your business’s natural growth.
How to handle stretch goal failure
Despite the challenges, it’s important to remember that stretch goal failures are bound to happen sometimes. When this happens, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to help employees recover from failure:
- Encourage them to continue trying.
- Let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that you still value their work.
- Help them find new ways to reach the goal.
- Provide support and encouragement along the way.
Stretch Goal Management
Now that we know a little bit about stretch goals, it’s time to learn how to manage them. Even if your stretch goal is not your main objective, you should treat it in a similar manner. After all, if you reach this goal, your business is going to be even more successful.
Here are the steps you need to take:
Set up a system for tracking progress
You may have a long way to go to achieve your stretch goal but if you can break it down into milestones, this makes it easier to track. Having a system in place will help you to stay on track and avoid any setbacks.
Create a timeline
Achieving a stretch goal often requires a tight timeline, so it’s important to create one and stick to it. Make sure employees are aware of the time constraints and what is expected of them.
They’re common goals so you want everyone to feel a sense of ownership during the development of the project. Make all relevant employees feel like stakeholders and ask for their help to stay on the timeline.
Encourage them to take breaks
Working long hours can be counterproductive, especially if you’re pushing for a stretch goal. Encourage employees to take regular breaks in order to stay fresh and motivated.
Celebrate successes along the way
Achieving even a small part of a stretch goal should be celebrated as it means that you are one step closer to reaching the final goal. Make sure to reward employees for their hard work.
Evaluate results at the end
Once the final goal has been met, take some time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work with your stretch goal process. Use this information to improve your processes for the future.
As is the nature of stretch goals, your team may fail to get there, but it can still be an excellent learning opportunity. This will also help employees determine what went wrong and why the goal was not reached.
Essential Stretch Goal Planning
Now that we know what stretch goals are and how to use them, it’s time to learn about the essential processes involved in achieving them.
Here are the key steps:
Pick the right goal
Not all goals are created equal- some are better suited for stretch goals than others. Make sure the goal you choose is something your team can realistically achieve but that is also challenging enough to spur innovation and creativity.
Don’t be afraid to go big with your stretch goal, after all, you want to use this opportunity to push your business to new heights. Going too small with a goal won’t lead to as impressive results.
Choose the right time to go for a stretch goal
Timing is everything when it comes to stretch goals. You need to make sure that the conditions are right for your team and that they’re ready to take on a new challenge.
Make sure employees are aware of the goal and what is expected of them before launching into a stretch goal campaign. If your team is already busy working on something else, it’s not the right time to set a stretch goal.
Set goals that align with your business plan
Stretch goals should never be random- they should always align with your business plan. This will help to ensure that you are using stretch goals in the most effective way possible and that they are helping you to reach your long-term goals.
Make sure everyone is on the same page
One of the biggest challenges with stretch goals is making sure that everyone involved is on the same page. This includes employees, managers, and stakeholders.
Create a document that outlines what the business hopes to achieve with the stretch goal and the plan for getting there. Note what you will expect from the employees and how you plan to support them.
Develop a strategy for reaching the goal
Achieving a stretch goal requires a well-thought-out plan. Make sure all team members are aware of the steps they need to take in order to reach the goal. Break the goal down into smaller, more manageable tasks that can be completed on a timeline.
Be realistic with goal setting
It’s important to be realistic with goal setting. Don’t expect employees to achieve the impossible and set them up for failure. This will only lead to disappointment and kill the motivation of your staff.
Make sure your stretch goal is something that can be achieved with a bit of hard work and creativity.
How to Keep the Team Motivated
There’s no denying that stretch goals will push the limits of your team. However, with the right motivation and support, they can be an excellent way to achieve new heights. As a manager, you should monitor your team for how well they are coping with an increased workload.
Many members of the team will want to increase their productivity to help the company. This may be a good thing in the short term but is unlikely to be sustainable and lead to burnout. If you see signs of this happening, it’s time to take a break and reassess your plans.
Offer incentives for your employees based on stretch goal milestones. For example, you could offer financial incentives for every 5% of the market share you acquire. Alternatively, you could offer an additional vacation day for high-performing individuals who smash their targets.
Be careful not to focus on the negatives, even if a team fails to get to the stretch goal, they’ve worked hard. It can be disappointing when a goal isn’t reached but don’t forget to focus on what was achieved.
Encourage your team to reflect on what they’ve learned from the experience and what they could do differently next time. This will help them to learn from their mistakes and improve their chances of reaching the goal next time.
What Is a Stretch Goal Examples
Now that we know all about stretch goals, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Here are some great examples of what you can set as a stretch goal for your business:
- Increase market share by 20%
- Reduce customer churn rates by 25%
- Launch a new product line that generates $100,000 in revenue within the first year
- Double profits within the next three years
- Achieve 50% growth in web traffic over the next twelve months
- Get 100 new customers in the next month
- Triple your current customer base
These are just a few examples of what you can set as a stretch goal for your business. They are lofty goals, but certainly achievable for ambitious businesses.
For your people
If you are trying to get more out of your employees, you can set them personal stretch goals to develop their professional goals. Some examples of good personal goals are:
- Earn a promotion within the next two years
- Become proficient in a new skill that can be used in their job
- Start taking on more responsibility at work
- Complete a training program or certification related to their field of work
- Achieve a specific goal within their field of work
- Become an expert in their field
- Be recognized as ‘one to watch’ in your industry
The sky’s the limit when it comes to stretch goals, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Employers who invest time and money into the development of their employees have less turnover.
People feel loyal to a company that is invested in their success.
Advice for Stretch Goal Success
Now that you understand how to use stretch goals, there are a few key things to keep in mind for successful goal attainment. There is every chance of failure, but even then there are plenty of positives to gain along the way.
Make sure everyone is on board and understands what is expected of them. Your employees will play the biggest part in the success. They need to clearly understand what the stretch goal is and what it would mean for the company to get there.
If you’re using stretch goals for the first time in your business, make sure employees are aware of what is expected of them before launching into the goal. This will help to set the tone for a successful stretch goal campaign.
Make sure you have a plan in place for what you will do if you don’t reach the stretch goal. Celebrate what was achieved along the way, no matter how small it may seem. Failing to reach a stretch goal should not be seen as a negative, but rather an opportunity to learn what didn’t work and improve on future attempts.
Limit how much pressure you put on your employees, since stretch goals are above and beyond the normal, you can’t ask your staff to burn themselves out for the sack of it.
Stretch goals are essential for businesses looking to propel themselves further than they ever thought possible. They give employees and managers something to aim for and help track, record, and reach goals that would usually be out of their reach.
Use stretch goals to achieve things you never thought were possible and see your business grow in ways you never imagined. Just make sure you are realistic with goal setting, employ the right people, and have a plan in place for what goals you’re going to aim for next.