The Consequences of Thoughtless Goal Setting

by Srikant Chellappa Dec 10,2019

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Good goal setting brings you good results. And poor goal setting brings your poor results. 

This begs the question, what is a good goal setting? And what are the long-term consequences of poor goal setting, in that how does it affect the company’s bottom line. These are the two main ideas we are going to explore in this article. 

There’s such a big emphasis on goal setting simply because goals map a path for the future. Many of the industry bigwigs have mentioned the role goal setting played in getting them to where they are right now. In most cases, it is flat out specified that clear goals and success are deeply interlinked and cannot exist without the other. 

And yet, it may be surprising to find that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some organizations prefer to wing it if that is the approach they have taken from the start, or others tend to set goals without realizing the amount of thought that needs to go into accurately mapping the future.

Let us take a look at some of the consequences that arise from poor goal setting and how it impacts organizations.

Also Read: Download the ultimate guide to employee engagement survey and templates

The Future is Stagnant

When you lack clear goals, the path to the future becomes muddled. Employees will not know where to direct their efforts, managers will not when to course correct, nobody knows what the end goal is like and there is chaos all around. And in the end, it is the organization that suffers because profit margins are impacted and so is productivity. And all of this occurs simply because goals were not mapped out well in advance.

Also Read: 7 Proven Ways To Become A Better Leader In The Workplace

Productivity is Wasted & Markers of Success Are Skewed

This is another egregious outcome that stems from poor goal setting. Productivity often happens at a premium. Employees are paid to work long and hard hours and organizations do spend reams on money offices, equipment, tools, employees, benefits, etc. in order to ensure that work gets done. Poor goal setting undermines all of these efforts and renders them useless, and is often an expensive failure.

Poor goal setting also changes the markers of success. And this is dangerous because a marker of success should not be something as basic as finishing up a goal, rather it should be the outcome that determines how successful the goal.

Work Becomes Frustrating

Imagine your goals are frequently shifting and changing how frustrating it would be. That would mean you are jumping from project to project, not really being able to put down roots anywhere. This has a huge impact on productivity and also breeds disengagement. Stability is an important factor when it comes to doing work. When employees are faced with a lot of instability work-wise, they tend to seek other pastures.

Also Read: 7 Reasons To Set Employee Goals

Creativity Suffers

And finally, one of the biggest casualties of poor goal setting is creativity being killed. When goals keep changing, employees are not going to get a chance to flex their creative muscles because they are so busy scrambling to accomplish the goal, since they have no idea how long it is going to last. Mind you, in this context, goals are not being changed they are being course-corrected. Rather, they are arbitrarily being dropped.

How can you sidestep poor goal-setting practices? Engagedly can help! Request a demo from us to find out!

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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