Why we make plans instead of goals

This is insightful:

You may notice that there are fewer goals at our company than most. Instead of setting goals, we prefer to make plans. Here’s how that works, and how the two relate.
We do start with a goal - a change we’d like to see. A goal is an outcome - it could be a cutting down the time it takes to add content to the app, doubling traffic to our site, or hitting a certain revenue. It’s important to know where you want to get so that you can choose the most important actions every day!
The big problem with goals is that they don’t tell you what to do every day, especially the bigger more all-encompassing goals. If you look at a goal like “get to 20,000 users” - what exactly are you supposed to do next to go get to that goal? Unless your job is sales, you don’t directly affect that goal.
Instead your actions indirectly affect it in various ways. Even if a goal relates to you directly - like increasing traffic to our site if you are in charge of the blog - there are many steps to get there. Just looking at the goal doesn’t help you figure out what to do next, or what to prioritize.
That’s why we don’t make goals, we make plans!
Plans tell us what to do every day. Plans have a clear yes or no whether or not we enacted them. With goals we might fall a bit short, hit them exactly or exceed them - and what does each of those outcomes mean? Which was a success and which was a failure? We don’t agree that we have failed if we did our very best work but the outcome wasn’t what we anticipated. Yes you can say that in the end only the outcome matters - but we believe this is the most effective path to get to that successful outcome.

Via: Software Lead Weekly