The Top 10 Mistakes In Setting Goals

For years, leaders have been evaluated by means of a “Does Not Meet/Meets/Exceeds” scale. The problem with this, according to the Studer Group, is that it doesn’t really tell you what the leader accomplished. A far more fair method is the use of a clear, objective, and weighted evaluation based on specific goal achievements.

The evaluation makes use of a one-to-five rating system for each goal, with the leader who exceeds expectations earning a five. And every goal is assigned a weight – a percentage  – based on its importance so that leaders know where to put the most energy.

Here are the top 10 most common mistakes made during the first year of a rollout of such a program and how they can be avoided:


  1. Inappropriately assigning organization-wide goals to middle managers.
  2. Goals are over- or under-valued in their assigned weight.
  3. Leaders share the same weights for a goal, even when the responsibilities don’t impact the weights.
  4. Instead of the outcomes, tactics such as projects or processes are used as goals.
  5. Designating regulations as goals when they’re really expectations.
  6. Leaders fail to accept responsibility for far-reaching goals they directly impact.
  7. Lack of uniformity in measurement.
  8. Leaders are allowed to “cherry pick” the goals to meet instead of the most important.
  9. Setting numerical targets where all leaders move up at the same rate.
  10. The goal is achieving a prestigious reward as opposed to the outcomes themselves.