The downside of setting goals

Children are taught the importance of setting goals from a very early age: almost as soon as they learn to speak they are expected to have a Plan For The Future. In fact when we meet a child one of the first things we ask is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Although by all rights they should say “I don’t know yet”, they always seem to have an answer.

As children grow we expect their goals to change, but we always assume they will have one. By the time they are 18 years old we expect them to choose a university, and then a major field of study.

The devotion to goal-setting continues throughout life, probably nowhere more so than in the workplace. In my office we begin each year by writing a Performance Plan.

I have never seen anyone question this whole enterprise, which is why this article came as such a breath of fresh air. Read it and see for yourself.

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