Want Breakthrough or Breakout Results? Set Unrealistic Goals!

It’s true.  Breakthrough results aren’t achieved by methodical planning and strategy.  That’s the kind of thinking that only preserves the past.  A recent article in Harvard Business Review, alluded to in this article, argued that unrealistic goals were what achieved real progress.

DeathCare is in the midst of a “New Normal” to which we have not yet started adjusting.  Maybe it’s time for unrealistic goals.


Take, for instance, JFK’s audacious goal in the early 1960s when the U.S. fell behind the Soviet Union in the technology race: “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Why does a statement like this produce breakthrough innovation? Performance is a function of expectations, since we rarely exceed our expectations or outperform our ambition. As humans, we are drawn to a bold, challenging, and unrealistic goal. Deep inside, we feel uplifted by the thought of climbing a mountain in a way we are not by the idea of scaling a molehill. JFK’s intent produced many breakthrough technologies.

In a similar way, “Strategic Intent” inspired me to think about mountains and not molehills as I shaped my research agenda around breakthrough innovation….More at The Timeless Strategic Value of Unrealistic Goals – Vijay