Setting stretch goals to develop All Stars

 In Blog, Performance Reviews
Today I’d like to share one of my favourite strategies for developing staff.

It’s called setting stretch goals to develop All Stars.

We’ve talked about this often, but it’s worth repeating:

To have a high performing team, you need a team of high performers!And to get everyone performing at their best, I like to use stretch goals.

What is a stretch goal?

Stretch goals are targets that you set for your staff to develop and grow their professional ability beyond their must-do delivery areas.

Each of your employees have their core responsibilities as a base, which they obviously must perform in. That’s cool, but we want them to go above and beyond.

That’s where stretch goals come in.

Stretch goals add another layer by setting objectives which you feel are in the best interests of your employee, your team and your company.

Do these stretch goals actually work?

Just like setting a mission, vision, and yearly initiatives for your company, stretch goals can help drive your business forward.

But, of course, these initiatives must be done right to achieve a positive outcome.

As Professor Datar at Harvard University states, “When done well, stretch goals create a lot of energy and momentum in an organisation”.

On the flip side, “Poorly set goals can be destructive to employees’ morale and productivity, and to the organisation’s performance overall,” shares Amy Gallo in a Harvard Business Review article.

So how do you implement effective stretch goals?

Stretch goals can be relatively straightforward to design and are exciting because they can take your team to the next level.

To give you an overview of the process, here’s my 7-steps to setting All Star stretch goals:

1. Identify desired outcomes. What defined goals or measured outcomes do you want to see from this employee?

  • Notice I said you. Pick what you determine as most important development areas based on your experience, expertise and what you know your business needs. Often your employees’ idea of the ideal stretch goal can be quite different to yours.

2. Set a timeframe. When would you like to see these results? In six months, one year, or two years?

3. Consider the gaps. Based on the employee’s current state of work and performance, and the outcomes you identified in #1, how big is the gap? What is missing?

4. Establish the stretch goals. Using the outcomes and timeframe you selected, and considering the size of the gap for the particular employee, determine goals that stretch the employee but are also achievable.

5. Communicate the plan. Once you’ve established the stretch goals, you’ll want to have a collaborative conversation with the employee. While it’s important to guide the employee, we must remember to gain their buy-in and feedback. In the end, employees should feel confident and empowered to achieve their new goals. Don’t forget to communicate the WHY!

6. Implement and evaluate. After you’ve talked with the employee and documented the goals in writing, you’ll want to have follow-up conversations. Eventually, you’ll measure the employee’s successes or struggles in achieving the stretch goals.

7. Make adjustments. Just like with any HR or business initiative, you’ll want to look at your process and make adjustments accordingly. What worked and didn’t work? How can it be more effective next time?

Setting stretch goals and developing All Stars takes time and practice.

If you’d like further assistance or want more information about developing high performing employees and teams, take a look at this month’s download, the All Star’s Performance Review Guide.

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic week!


Download: ‘All Stars’ Performance Review Guide

Your short guide to building an employee performance review program that breeds excellence:

  • Learn the 3 different levels of employee performance reviews commonly used by businesses today
  • Evaluate your company’s in-house performance review capabilities
  • Find out how to build a performance review program that turns your staff into All Stars!


Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.

Thanks for sharing!

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Paulette Kolarz

Customer Support

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