A commercial on TV: the young boy walked up to home plate on an empty ball field with his bat, a ball, and a smile as he was prattling on about the world’s best hitter.
He settles in at the plate and, with one more verse of world’s best hitter, tosses the ball into the air. After the swish of a haymaker swing and no thunk of the bat, he looks down to see the ball lying quietly at his feet.
Undaunted, still smiling, the boy again settles at the plate, recites world’s best hitter again, tosses up the ball, takes his swing. When he looked down, there’s the ball at his feet once again. His smile fading with each attempt, he tries several more times – unsuccessfully – to hit the ball, his world’s best hitter becoming less enthusiastic with each miss.
With a 0 for many tries record, the boy’s face is set in a frown, clearly disappointed, and his head is hung – then it snaps up, the smile is back, and he steps back up to the plate to take his stance. With a megawatt smile, he tosses the ball up while saying the world’s greatest pitcher.
A posthumous goal offers some feel-good for the boy, but it creates a detrimental result in other situations.
A manager says just do your best for the project output but adds 10% more to ‘goal’ when critiquing the disappointing project results.
Or, a project is due by the end of the week, but at noon on Thursday, the supervisor says he wants it by the end of the day.
A goal communicates intent. What does a posthumous goal accomplish?