What is this practice and how effective is it?

Stretch goals are invariably based on negotiating short-term fixed targets and have recently become more pervasive in both the private and the public sectors as senior executives look to make managers more accountable for delivering improved results. But do stretch goals deliver the expected results? In some cases, the answer is yes, but the collateral damage is often too great to bear as managers resort to a range of unethical practices to meet the numbers. We examine the evidence and suggest ways that leaders can drive step changes—a set of rapid improvements in performance where measured improvements rapidly increase, creating an improvement graph similar to ascending stairs—in ...

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