Growth without goals

As much credit as we ascribe to goals for organizational success, goal achievement is more rare and not definitively related to happiness at work. The failure rate of performance stretch goals in organizations is around 90%. People feeling like they’re failing 90% of the time leads instead to lower performance. 

Harvard researchers indicate that recognition of progress not success is most related to meaningful and engaging work. As much as we hope goals inspire us, every day we don’t reach our goals, we are failing. Progress is different. Progress is possible every day.

Ironically, progress doesn’t necessarily require measurable goals. It can be a function of four key questions: 

  • What’s the good we want to see? 
  • What would represent progress towards that now? 
  • What strengths and habits can we grow and strengthen to support progress?
  • When and how can we identify our progress and learning from it? 

Exceeding what would have been a goal becomes possible with progress that has no end.