Are there any disadvantages or potential dangers when working with goals? What can the risks be for anything? What happens if you set too long-term goals? Here, questions about pitfalls in goal work are answered.

Are there any disadvantages or potential dangers when working with goals? What can the risks be for anything? What happens if you set too long-term goals? Here, questions about pitfalls in goal work are answered.



It may be that sometimes a goal work has no effect at best, but in the worst case a direct negative effect. If it is the case that the goals make us spend time on wrong activities and behaviors or that they steer us towards immoral action. Some common pitfalls that can be important to consider are that we set goals for the long term. That we simply do not formulate goals for shorter episodes of work. There is no danger in having long-term goals, but on the contrary an advantage. But with that as a starting point, we should also work with short-term goals. Preferably with a goal for today's work shift.

Another common pitfall is that we do not really check with the parties involved if the goal feels meaningful and relevant and engaging. To formulate goals that are relatively easy to develop, but have no significant impact on the attitude and motivation of the individual or work group that is to reach the goal.

A third common pitfall is that we rely too much on the goal and that the goal should do the job. That one underestimates the importance of having a good follow-up with feedback, feedback and joint reflection.

It is more important to have a good follow-up process than to have good, clear and challenging goals from the beginning. However, both are needed. But it is easier to formulate goals with what we are to do and achieve than to set aside time to follow up and see if we have actually done so. Of course, it is also the case that when we follow things up, it becomes clear to us if it is the case that we have not done what we said we would do. This can be a little tricky.

Finally, it is a common mistake when we work with goals, that we put too much focus on goal fulfillment and make goal fulfillment the only important thing. That you link different types of incentives to goal fulfillment. This entails the risk that we formulate too simple goals that are not difficult and challenging. And research shows that difficult and challenging goals make us work harder and they generally have a more positive impact on actual performance and behavior. We see goal fulfillment as the most important instead of trying to understand that the most important thing is that we influence the underlying dimension around which we have formulated a goal.

So to sum up, when we work with goals, it is important that they do not become too long-term, but that we also remember to set short-term goals. It is important that the goals are perceived as relevant and meaningful for the person or people who will work towards them. It is very important that we do not neglect good follow-up processes where we actually look at how we are doing, what progress we have made and what we need to do for adjustments. And finally, it is important that we do not formulate too simple goals just because we want to achieve goal fulfillment. We must find goals that are at such a perfect level that we get the maximum outcome on the performance and feel proud the times when we actually reach our goals.

About Stefan Söderfjäll

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology Stefan Söderfjäll has studied our human behavior for over 20 years. Stefan wants to bring out research-based knowledge, above all about how we behave in working life. Stefan Söderfjäll is one of the owners of the Swedish digital tool for goal control, GoalEnvision. GoalEnvision is a powerful tool for you who want to set goals together in the company. GoalEnvision provides tips on successful goals and a simple methodology to get everyone to get the right things done.

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