The Stretch Goal Paradox: Audacious Targets are Widely Misunderstood and Widely Misused

Posted: 13 Dec 2018

See all articles by Sim B. Sitkin

Sim B. Sitkin

Duke University-Fuqua School of Business

C. Chet Miller

Wake Forest University - Babcock Graduate School of Management

Kelly E. See

University of Colorado at Denver - Business School; New York University - Department of Management and Organizations

Date Written: January 31, 2017

Abstract

What executive hasn’t dreamed of transforming an organization by achieving seemingly impossible goals through the sheer force of will? We’re not talking about merely challenging goals. We’re talking about management moon shots — goals that appear unattainable given current practices, skills, and knowledge. In the parlance of the business world, these are often referred to as stretch goals.

Keywords: extreme goals, aspirations, learning, performance

JEL Classification: L2

Suggested Citation

Sitkin, Sim B. and Miller, C. Chet and See, Kelly E., The Stretch Goal Paradox: Audacious Targets are Widely Misunderstood and Widely Misused (January 31, 2017). Harvard Business Review, Vol. 95, No. 1, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3073891

Sim B. Sitkin

Duke University-Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7946 (Phone)

C. Chet Miller

Wake Forest University - Babcock Graduate School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 7659
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7659
United States

Kelly E. See (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Denver - Business School ( email )

1475 Lawrence Street
Suite 5015
Denver, CO 80204
United States

New York University - Department of Management and Organizations ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

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