Companies of all sizes grapple with goal-setting. Whether it’s which methodology to choose, what it should ‘look’ like, or even what goals your organization should set — there’s a lot of room for error. At all stages of the business lifecycle, from individual and team goals to the broader company strategy, goals are necessary to keep an organization moving toward the future they have in mind.
Many of today’s most successful and fastest-growing organizations get this done by using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for goal-focused company alignment. In the simplest terms, OKRs are what they sound like. They consist of a list of 3-5 high-level Objectives. Each Objective has an accompanying 3-5 measurable Key Results (rated on a scale of 0-100% or 0 to 1.0 to show completion).
It sounds simple enough, but there’s a reason this methodology is taking businesses by storm. Here’s how this goal-setting method and expert OKR consulting works:
The OKR Methodology
The purpose of OKRs is to connect individual, team, and company goals to measurable business results, with employees and leaders alike working in a unified direction. Besides accountability, a large part of the methodology is the understanding of what’s expected of us and the steps we’ll take to achieve results. Studies have found that people who write down their goals regularly are 42 percent more likely to achieve them.
What Is An OKR?
Objectives and Key Results are a method of goal management with a simple framework of tracking objectives and subsequent outcomes. They can seem ambitious and are meant to be challenging. However, they are usually set on an annual timeline with room for changes, as unaccounted for obstacles can always occur — and often do. If you achieve your organizational OKRs easily, it likely means you’ve set your goals too low.
The Objectives are what your organization wants to accomplish. They’re often subjective, ambitious, time-sensitive, and qualitative. Key Results are specific, concrete, and, most importantly, measurable. Here’s an example of an Objective and its Key Results:
Objective: Raise Brand Awareness
- Generate 100 Marketing Qualified Leads
- Increase lead conversion from 6% to 10%
- Reduce customer acquisition cost from $25 to $15
Senior leadership sets the corporate strategy, including objectives for the company as a whole and long term key results. Then, departments and teams rally around how to deliver them, in a shorter, specific time frame — like quarterly — that works alongside their own objectives and projects while pushing the business strategy forward at the same time. Here’s what it looks like:
- Executive leadership sets course for the year with 3-5 objectives
- Teams and departments set 3-5 objectives for their areas of the business, aligned with the leadership-level objectives
- Individuals work with the leaders to set 3-5 objectives that contribute to their own needs, those of their teams, and those of the organization as a whole
Organizations are defined by growth. The goal is to ensure everyone is going in the same direction, with clear priorities, in a constant rhythm. With OKRs, the entire company benefits along with each individual. These are the benefits at every level:
- Objectives align with the organization’s mission, vision, values, and top corporate priorities
- Leaders align their team’s direction with the long term key results and priorities tied to those objectives
- Complete visibility of efforts of the leadership, team, and individual level
- Keep teams focused, engaged, and inspired by providing buy-in and context to their responsibilities
- Foster a growth mindset and focus on the end goal
- Offer targeted feedback through objective-focused reviews
- Develop more ‘buy-in’ for overarching organizational goals, and see how individual work drives toward them
- Transparency into the company’s roadmap, priorities, and changes
- Identify critical skill gaps and create plans to overcome them
The OKR methodology maintains a clear understanding of a company’s internal objectives, guiding employees to clearly understand and work toward these objectives. Managers and team members alike can align their work to coincide with the corporate vision. Strategic alignment boosts across the organization with clear operations and workflows.
Measurability and accountability are key differentiators of OKRs. Objectives are clearly visible to team members, so everyone knows what is expected of them and why their role is vital to reach larger goals — boosting employee engagement and morale through transparency, buy-in, and trust.
Take It A Step Further
Choosing the OKR methodology alone is a great starting point to make your organizational goals tangible, but to guarantee all goals are aligned and reached, any organization will need guidance — especially when introducing the methodology and structure to teams. That’s the Inspire Goal Management secret sauce.
Goal management is critical to successful employee growth. The Inspire platform uses input and guidance from industry-leading experts to build next-generation goal software. The OKR structure is built into our software with the exclusive guidance of OKR expert, Paul Niven. With the combination of our integrated Goal Management features and exclusive access to expert support and guidance, your company gets the tools necessary to set, track, and foster employee OKRs that are aligned with their career advancement, team objectives, department needs, and aspirations of the organization as a whole.
Originally published here.
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