Move the Goalposts
(Move the Goalposts is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Move the Goalposts
If you haven’t figured it out, we despise sports analogies more than any other category of annoying business sayings. They’re too easy, too overused, and too dumbed down to matter in business.
Plus, for this one, who the hell ever moved a goalpost in their life? This shouldn’t even be a saying!
Goalposts are often cemented into the ground – yards deep – and they’re not mobile. Most have never been moved in real life, so why are we accusing others of figuratively doing this?
Move the goalposts refers to those worthless managers who set a target for their team (perhaps, to receive some bonus), and then move the target farther out as their team approaches it.
It’s a lousy way to manage and it leads to employee turnover. Worse, it leads to the wrong kind of turnover. Great people leave, good people underachieve, while the bad people stay put.
Interestingly, those annoying managers most prone to sports analogies (like this one) are often the first to move your targets – that is, move the goalposts. They’re jerks of the first order; and if you find yourself working for one of these jackasses, you need to start looking for a new gig… now.
We’ve never known a truly bad manager to get better over time; only worse. Moreover, those accusing others of moving the goalposts are most often the biggest culprits of this unreasonable change.
Replacement phrases: Change the goal; Alter the targets
See also: Paradigm Shift; Change Agent
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon