Goal Setting

What can your accountancy firm learn from General Electric about stretch goals?

Scientific research and practical experiences at Jack Welch’s General Electric, suggest discomfort is the emotion you should feel about the goals you set yourself.

Here’s why…

Jack Welch was CEO at General Electric (GE) for 20 years.
Jack pushed for uncomfortable stretch goals not easily attainable goals.

In his 20 years as GE boss, he increased the company’s market value from $12 billion to $280 billion. That is an increase of $13billion every year for 20 years!

An article in The Economist (2011) about GE’s stretch goals states:

“...if the right environment was created for the group, setting stretch goals and working toward what might seem to be impossible results often became reality.”

That last line appeals: ‘Impossible results often become reality’.

So where does that leave SMART goals?

Although SMART goals get the thumbs up from many research studies, one element of SMART proves to get in the way of your high performance!

S – they must be Specific
M – they must be Measurable
A – they must be Attainable – change this to AWESOME
R – they must be Relevant to you
T – they must be Time bound

The research strongly indicates the middle A – ‘attainable’ isn’t enough!

An ‘attainable’ goal suggests a sense of comfort with the goal, not too hard to achieve.


Change ‘attainable’ to ‘awesome’ and you keep yourself stretching for that goal!

And the result is that the extra push towards an ‘awesome’ stretch goal will mean that you’ll achieve more than would have been achieved merely settling for an ‘attainable’ goal.

To read more about how you can make stretch goals work for your accountancy firm click here.

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