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Why Setting Goals Is Overrated

February 28, 2016, 6:00 PM UTC
Photograph via Getty Images

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s the best way to keep your company successful? is written by Mark Newman, founder and CEO of HireVue.

Goal achievement becomes impossible if you keep pushing yourself to go farther every time you meet a goal — to constantly do more and keep stretching. This is one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned. I never hit my goals because I’ve made a habit of ‘moving’ them right before I do. I call it “moving the finish line” — and believe me, it’s a game changer.

Examples of “moving the finish line” can be seen in all industries. Google (GOOGL), initially a mobile search engine, has expanded their business to paid advertising, maps, and much more. Warby Parker’s e-commerce business model is evolving into retail locations as they deliver high-quality lenses at a fraction of the cost. GE (GE) is rebranding itself as a digital company, targeting the next generation of innovators.

R. Ray Wang, founder, and chairman of Silicon Valley based Constellation Research, perfectly sums up the need for constant change in his latest book: “When it comes to the transformational mindset, there are four different categories of companies: market leaders, fast followers, cautious adopters, and laggards. Market leaders actively seek change.” Here’s four reasons why “moving the finish line” can help your company stay successful:

See also: Why Paranoia Is Necessary For Success

Keeps work exciting
No one wakes up everyday excited to do the exact same thing over and over. According to the 2015 Virgin Pulse report, 53% of employees said “interesting and challenging” work is the top reason they love their company. Further, in Liz Wiseman’s book Rookie Smarts, she finds a ‘near-linear’ correlation between levels of challenge and job satisfaction. When we feel challenged, we’re more engaged in our work. When we’re more engaged in our work, we’re more excited to do it. Keep moving the finish line and no two days will be the same — the constant push for achieving more will keep work exciting and rewarding.

Helps retain customers
When was the last time your favorite brand surprised you by delivering something you didn’t even know you needed? Apple (AAPL) does it constantly. First they gave us portable music, and most recently, the Apple Watch. Who knew we would long for the power to order a burrito from our wrists? Keep pushing the envelope (and finish line) on what’s possible in your own industry; think outside the box for inspiration.

Attracts new talent
When the goals for your products and services constantly stretch, so do your talent requirements. Not only do you challenge your existing team, you create the opportunity to give talent what they really want — the chance to be part of something bigger. The 2015 Deloitte Millennial Study bares this out: “millennials want to work for organizations that support innovation; 78% were strongly influenced by how innovative a company was when deciding if they wanted to work there.”

Encourages digital disruption
According to IBM’s (IBM) recent Global C-Suite Study regardless of the industry, executives in the C-suite are terrified of the “Uber syndrome.” They fear disruption from outside the industry even more than they fear existing competitors. So how are the smartest industry leaders combatting this mass Uber-noia? They constantly move the finish line. Commit to more than merely reaching your goals. Instead, experiment with moving the finish line to drive innovation, give employees a common rallying cry, and continuously surprising your customers.