Performance Goal vs Result Goal

You could not have not heard of the saying that a man without a goal in life is like a ship without a rudder. At this important juncture of our lives, there’s a goal that each of us is driven by, something that gives us sleepless nights and many a butterfly in the stomach. For most of you, ‘goal’ was almost synonymous to ‘result’. Before anything, let me just explain to you the meaning of the two terms. ‘Performance goals’ are short-term objectives set for specific duties or tasks. Result goals, on the other hand, define outcomes where you’re unwilling to compromise — they describe exactly what you want. They focus solely on your end objective.

After quizzing 20 people, I found that 17 of them said that setting a ‘result goal’ was more important than setting a ‘performance goal’. Are these 17 people right? Let’s find out!

Consider a batsman going out to bat after setting a goal of scoring a 100 (i.e. result goal). He may get out to a wrong decision or get out to a very good delivery while batting on 95. Result? He’ll feel dejected and disappointed. On the other hand, had he set a goal of performing to the best of his abilities, there would have been fewer chances of him getting disappointed after getting out to a wrong decision because he would have then achieved his goal of performing the best that he could.


Sachin Tendulkar was the first to achieve the ‘result’ of scoring 200 runs in a single ODI innings. Did HE really think of scoring 200 runs before going out to bat? Considering that the feat had not been achieved before, not even a slightest of thought would have come to his mind of doing so. When he was later interviewed, he said that he just wanted to bat for 50 over and not get out. He managed to do that. Result? He scored a 200. His focus was entirely on his performance i.e. to perform to the best of his abilities.

This is true in other fields of life too.


How in business world?  You, as the CEO of a company, aim to increase the overall profits of the company (result goal). Hence, your immediate objectives (or performance results) would be to cut costs and maximize sales.  To cut costs, you lay off employees. But you notice that your sales falls as a result of fall in production. You are unable to achieve your result goal because you were not able to achieve your performance goal.


Sometimes the objective of getting the desired result is the biggest hurdle that comes in between the individual and his result. Because the closer he gets to the result, the more desperate he becomes losing his calmness that is so important to perform. This happened with Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup against India and the same happened with South Africa in a World Cup final when they failed to score just 1 run off 4 balls to lift the trophy.

Performance goals are far more realistic, achievable, and often take the stress out of the result. Besides, if you consistently achieve performance goals, you invariably end up achieving your result goal. The idea is to deliver YOUR PEAK PERFORMANCE because the result is not really in your hands, taking into consideration all the variables.  For the truth is that there is no shame in losing after performing the best you can, provided of course you are honest enough to know that you did indeed deliver the best you could? There is however much to feel small about if you haven’t tried hard enough. For to lose is a not a crime, to offer less than 100 percent is.

“Consistent overnight performances will lead to what will seem to be an overnight result” 

Performance Goal V/S Result Goal: 3:0. So, the thinking of those 17 people, is it right in the real life?

I’ll leave it for you to decide.

Article Contributed by Mukund Bubna

Pic credits: LinkedIn


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