Increased effort, greater persistence, and better performance

By Dick Grote via hbr.org   Article

3 Popular Goal-Setting Techniques Managers Should Avoid

“In 2002, professors Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham, two of the best known academic researchers on goal-setting, wrote an article in American Psychologist summarizing their 35 years of research. Among their findings:

  • Setting specific, difficult goals consistently leads to higher performance than just urging people to do their best.
  • High goals generate greater effort than low goals, and the highest or most difficult goals produce the greatest levels of effort and performance.
  • Tight deadlines lead to a more rapid work pace than loose deadlines.
  • Making a public commitment to a goal enhances personal commitment.
  • Whether the goal is set by mutual agreement or by the boss alone doesn’t make a big difference in goal achievement.

So the argument for strategic goal setting seemed settled. Set specific, difficult goals with tight deadlines. Don’t be too concerned about whether the goal is jointly set by the individual and manager together, or whether the boss just hands the subordinate the list of goals he expects the subordinate to achieve together with a tough due-date. Let everybody know what your goals are. The predictable result: Increased effort, greater persistence, and better performance.”

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