Aggressive A series of research studies have established that performance is strongest when goals are challenging but attainable. Reaching a 20% improvement will requires aggressive work by Coke, but the goal can be reached.
If Coca Cola’s water efficiency goal was 95% improvement, Coca Cola’s employees would probably react with surprise. Reaching a goal must be feasible in order for employees to embrace it. Unrealistic goals make most people give up. And basing goals on impossible clichés, such as “give 110%” creates confusion.
Time-bound Coca Cola is seeking to achieve its 20% improvement by 2012. Some universities, such as Texas Tech University, provide incentives, including preferred scheduling for students who sign contracts agreeing to graduate on a four-year schedule. Deadlines such as these are motivating and they create accountability.
A goal is specific if it is explicit rather than vague. In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed a specific goal in a speech to the US Congress: “I believe that 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 (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).” Explicitness such as was offered in this goal is helpful because it targets people’s energy. A few moments later, Kennedy made it clear that such targeting would be needed if this goal was to be reached. Going to the moon, he noted, would require “a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, materiel and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already