Setting Goals Can be Bad!

Every person has Many people have a dream, a vision if your are in a team. Too often in an attempt to accomplish that dream/vision we set ourselves with little chunks of metrics we call “Goals” that we think if we do accomplish them then we will get closer to accomplishing our dreams.

Well goal as performance measures are quit good since they  allows us to track our progress. But not always!!

“What gets measured, gets done”. In other words, measuring a desired behavior tends to promote the desired behavior. However, there’s a dark side to this. It’s possible that the measure actually becomes the target—and that’s all you get ending up forgetting the original dream/ big pictue.  This is known as Goodhart’s Law:

When a measure becomes the target, it ceases to be a good measure”.

Here is an illustration of it.

goodhart

Explanations;

Say you are striving to achieve a dream Y. So you break it down in chunks and you formulate goal G which is not as same as Y because it is more simple and more explicit than Y.

Then you commit your efforts and resources in accomplishing goal G hoping when you achieve it you will be closer o achieve dream Y

As time goes on, sometimes for instances due to circumstances the very means of achieving goal G leads to a redirection from the original dream Y.

Eventually the correlation between goal G and dream Y completely breaks down and accomplishing goal G gets you nowhere near dream Y.

Thus its important to be careful on dealing with short term goal, plans and activities so as not to forget the bigger picture of what we really want in life.

And be sure only to measure what really matters.

Note:

  1. There is this book that will show you how to collect timely, relevant data to track progress – to measure what matters in life and projects, be sure to check it out!
    Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth by John Doerr
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