A colleague of mine at Waimea College asked me once what the difference was between an 'objective' and a 'goal'. As an English teacher (and someone with a brilliant mind) he knew the subtleties at play.
What he was alluding to was the unnecessary obfuscation of language that seems to emerge on a daily basis in teaching. I'm sure he'll be spluttering while reading the next sentence.
A new addition (or at least, new to me) is the term 'stretch goals'.
It seems a 'stretch goal' is:
A goal that cannot be achieved by incremental or small improvements but requires extending oneself to the limit to be actualized. Stretch goals are used, not to drive short-term action, but to inspire longer term innovation processes aimed at making desirable outcomes, that are currently impossible, achievable at some future time. While it might be hoped to achieve a stretch goal either in large measure or in full within a defined time frame (usually quite some time into the future) the timing of the achievement of the stretch goal cannot be guaranteed - it can only be striven for.
A “stretch goal” is any goal “which seems to be unobtainable with the existing resources”. The intent behind stretch goals is to force employees to think creatively for solutions to apparently impossible problems.
Interestingly, I am currently being asked to come up with such goals (three or four) that need to be achieved in a nine month period. No really!
Methinks the term has not quite been understood.