Excerpt from the LEAP Module: Goal Setting for Higher Performance
Set Performance Goals, Not Outcome Goals
Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control.
You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible - there is nothing as dispiriting as failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control such as bad business environments, poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to failure because of things beyond your control. This is very important.
If you base your goals on personal performance or skills or knowledge to be acquired, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them. For example, you might achieve a personal best time in a race, but still be disqualified as a result of a poor judging decision. If you had set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then this will be a defeat. If you set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and self-confidence from its achievement.
Another flaw when setting goals, is where outcome goals are based on the rewards of achieving something, whether these are financial or are based on the recognition of colleagues. In early stages these will be highly motivating factors, however as they are achieved, the benefits of further achievement at the same level reduce. You will become progressively less motivated.
Read the 2nd principle of goal setting: Set Specific, Measurable Goals
Lynda Silsbee is Founder and President of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration. She has spent more than 30 years creating and leading high performance teams. Along with the other LEAP Certified Coaches, she reports that helping managers make the LEAP to leader is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her work.