2 min read

Personal Leadership Development Planning: Stretch Goals Part 1

Featured Image

Are you a leader who desires to grow in your scope of responsibility and level of seniority soon? Incorporate stretch goals into your personal leadership development plan.

Do you want to be ready when the big opportunity shows up but not sure what you can be doing now that will make a big difference in your success? 

Then you need Stretch Goals.

During the annual Neuroleadership Summit sponsored by the Neuroleadership Institute on November 4, 2015, researchers revealed research on this topic and below is a summary of their findings for why stretch goals are key to growing talent.

What is a Stretch Goal?

Neuroleadership and stretch goals 70-20-10

It is still widely agreed upon by organization learning specialists, that most of our best learning takes place on the job, especially through tough jobs or projects. This means you can really benefit from being deliberate about having a stretch assignment or project or work on a stretch product - right now to get some accelerated development.

One definition for was shared at the Summit by researchers Steven Kerr and Steffen Landauer: 

A stretch goal is “Far enough beyond the levels currently being achieved that people have a no clear idea about how to reach and are typically received with considerable incredibility.”

Qualities that make up a stretch goal are different from typical day to day “check list” goals.  For example, a checklist goal example is to sell 10 more computers vs. a stretch goal of a computer on every desk. 

Some additional Differentiating qualities:

  • You think attaining the goal is impossible on some level
  • The sink or swim nature of the risk of of failing and the rigor involved makes you operate in a heightened state of awareness – not on autopilot
  • Long term or distant goals, usually taking a while to achieve

From My Experience: 

Those that have the ability to work on a stretch goal or minimally a pretty rigorous challenge before they are promoted are far more successful after they get promoted due to the extensive learning provided by the experience.  Through hands on practice, they acquire more honed skills and mindsets about how to tackle really huge challenges which is typically what lies ahead in a bigger leadership role.

If you are seeking ways to accelerate your readiness for the next big leadership role but have to still perform in your "day job" consider adding a stretch goal to your development plan.  Given the unique nature of stretch goals, there are also unique challenges that need to be taken into consideration to set yourself up to succeed in this kind of learning. Having a the goal itself alone is not enough to learn from.

Next: Ring Results has strategies for tackling those challenges and setting yourself up for optimal learning lined up in this post.


3 min read

Personal Leadership Development Plan: Helping Teams Under Stress


The following is another lesson from my coaching play book about a leader whose team was...

4 min read

Everyone Wins When You Address Personality Dynamics During Times of Change

There is nothing like a sudden change of executive leadership to trigger all kinds of personality dynamics in a team....

2 min read

Being A Successful Leader For Your New Hire: Sink or Swim?

More than 70% of executives are not effective at supporting new-to-role peers and managers according the Corporate...