A recent HR article indicated the number one desire of good employees is to know they’re making progress. This provides for self esteem and is a great benefit of the success of the company.
Another way of looking at it is that there’s a proverb that says that, “Without vision the people vanquish”. Without goals, employees lose focus and instead of performing “great”, they begin performing merely “good”, then eventually “poorly”.
Sports would never be as popular as they are without some form of goal to achieve. No one would go to the football games if all the play was between the two 20 yard lines.
Goals give a manager an opportunity to develop his or her employees and to reward accomplishments.