Stretch goals vs team objectives: What’s the difference?

by Jenny Bowes | Feb 01, 2021

time icon 3 mins

Setting goals and objectives is an essential part of running a business. When everyone in the organisation has a shared goal in mind, it can help to improve strategic alignment and guide you on your path to growth.

However, when it comes to setting objectives for your business, there are several options to choose from. This includes stretch goals, team objectives, OKRs, KPIs, long-term and short-term goals and many more.

In this guide, we’re taking a closer look at team objectives and stretch goals, so you can determine which option is right for your business.

The benefits of setting team goals and objectives

Setting objectives for your team can bring about a wealth of benefits for your business. We’ve put together some of the main advantages below.

Provides a clear direction for the business

No matter whether you want to grow your business or you want to hire the best staff, setting team goals will help to provide a clear direction for your organisation.

When your entire team has this shared goal in mind, it will help to guide their daily decision-making processes so that the organisation hits its intended goal.

When incentives such as bonuses, promotions and fringe benefits are used alongside team goals, this can help to boost motivation even further.

Minimises wasted time and resources

When your business has clear team goals and objectives, this can help you to streamline your operation and eliminate unnecessary processes. Instead, your team will focus their efforts on the tasks that will help the business to hit its goals.

This can help you to minimise wasted time and make your organisation more efficient overall.

Helps to facilitate business planning

Setting objectives and key results helps to facilitate your overall business planning. Strategic OKRs provide your internal team with a clear roadmap, where a priority order can be assigned to tasks.

What’s a stretch goal?

There are several different types of goals you can choose for your organisation, one of which is a stretch goal. In summary, a stretch goal is a target that is set above what you expect the organisation to achieve.

The aim here is not to intimidate your team with seemingly unattainable goals, but rather, to encourage them to think outside the box and boost motivation. This can bring about a wealth of benefits for your business, including:

  • Providing productive discomfort: Setting stretch goals helps to push people out of their comfort zone, and as a result, encourage them to grow and think of creative strategies to help achieve the business’ goals
  • Boosting confidence: When you set and hit your goals consistently, this can boost your team’s confidence in their abilities
  • Protecting the business from external shocks: If you set stretch goals and hit them on a regular basis, you’ll be in a better position to absorb any shocks from external economic factors. For example, if you plan on taking on 10 new clients in a year, this will put your business in a better position if you’re hit hard by a recession.

What are team objectives?

On the other hand, team objectives are concerned with the specific actions that your staff must take in order to achieve your overall business goals. For example:

  • A company objective: Expand into the North American market
  • A team objective: Secure 5 North American clients in 18 months

Unlike stretch goals, team objectives are usually more specific and targeted. However, team goals can be ‘stretched’ so that they include targets that are above what the team is expected to achieve.

There are countless benefits for setting objectives for your team, including:

  • Aligning your company focus
  • Improving communication between teams
  • Creating a more inclusive, collaborative company culture

Which option is best for your business?

There are no hard and fast rules for setting objectives, it’s all about selecting the right option that suits your business’ needs.

Utilising a combination of stretch goals and regular team objectives can help you achieve growth, without putting too much pressure on your team. However, this will vary between businesses. If your work objectives are too restrictive, they may not work if you have a relaxed, laid-back workplace culture, and vice versa.

If you’re having trouble setting the right objectives and key results for your organisation, make sure to take a look at our OKR templates and guides for a helping hand.