Ready, Why setting goals can backfire

“Although simple numerical goals can lead to bursts of intense effort in the short term, they can also subvert the longer-term interests of a person or a company – whether it’s a pharmaceutical firm that overlooks safety in the rush to get a drug approved, or a dieter who resumes smoking to help lose 20 pounds. In work requiring a certain amount of creativity and judgment, the greatest risk appears to lie in overly simplified goals. Reducing complex activities to a bundle of numbers can end up rewarding the wrong behavior.”

The big problem with plans and goals: They lock you in. You put on blinders. You stop improvising. You don’t change direction. That’s bad, especially if you’re a company that needs to improvise and change with the times.