The Dark Side of Goal Setting
What happens when performance-based goal setting overshadows learning and development and blinds us to the extrinsic impact of our actions.
Goal setting is trendy, and you’ll find very few voices in business and management circles offering counter ideas or alternatives for the achievement of success. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. makes you want to make it yours—makes you want to be smart. So if you’re smart, you’ll set goals for your life and work. Goal setting is the starting point for all worldly achievement and material gain, powerfully driving behaviour and boosting performance in a competitive world. We don’t doubt its theoretical foundation or its efficacy in achieving personal success in life. It is ingrained in the western industrialised mind, pervasive and unquestioned in business & management literature and the popular press. But it has a dark side, and in its pursuit, we often become blinkered to its negative consequences and lose sight of important aspects of life and work.
There was a period in my life when I, like countless others, believed that setting lofty goals was the route to success. As with a doctor’s prescription, I merely needed to do exactly what I was told to realise my vision for the future. But none of it worked.
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