Research has shown that effective goal setting can improve the productivity of a team by 20-25%. However, if your goals are going to be achieved, it’s not enough to simply set them, they also need to be managed. Let’s take a closer look at the active process of goal management below.
Why it’s Important to Manage your Goals
While it is somewhat easy to set individual, team and company goals, it’s unlikely you’ll see the results you were hoping for if they aren’t managed correctly.
There are really 2 aspects to this. The first is to stay on top of your progress. Too many companies will have a long range goal that they don't check in with for months, or even longer. They reach the end of the quarter or year and wonder why they couldn't achieve them. Especially for longer term goals, it's important to have regular management and insight into how things are progressing, so you can either motivate people more, or shift tasks and tactics as needed.
The second aspect is to maintain alignment with the rest of your company as well as external factors. Internally, this can come in the form of clear communication from management once goals are set... or even better, include staff in the setting of goals. Alignment is needed for everyone in your organization around how their day to day duties play a part in the achievement of goals for the business as a whole.
Externally, business is always changing (read more about keeping up with external business changes).. both internally as well as within your competitors, industry and the marketplace as a whole (ahem, Covid-19). Without external goal alignment, things can get off the rails quickly. In essence, employees, teams and even the company as a whole may be achieving goals that no longer adhere to the needs required to move the business in the direction it should go within the current environment.
The Process: Introducing OKRs
OKR, an acronym for Objective and Key Results, is a framework used to define and track business objectives and their outcomes. This framework offers many benefits, including better transparency, increased focus, keeping people engaged, and improved alignment. As its name suggests, an OKR consists of an objective and key results (usually no more than five). The objective defines the goal to be achieved, while the key results are the quantitative measure of the progress towards this objective. It’s also possible for OKRs to have metrics within each key result, and tasks or initiatives which describe the work required to drive progress.
For many businesses, OKRs help to make strategies clear and measurable for all employees, no matter their position in an organization.
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How Goal Setting with OKRs Works
A company typically sets OKRs using the following framework:
First, the company sets 3-5 OKRs for the quarter (see more information about using a cadence below).
Next, each team (as needed) sets 3-5 OKRs that are aligned with the company goals set by leadership.
Finally, individuals work with managers to set 3-5 OKRs that are aligned with the company and team objectives.
A similar scenario can be used strictly within the marketing department, to setup a hierarchy of Business Impact > Campaign Impact > Channel Impact OKRs, based on the makeup of your organization.
As we're focusing on the management of goals subsequent to the setting of goals, if you'd like more info, here's our post on setting OKRs: Why Goal Setting Matters for SMBs
Setting the right OKR Cadence
OKRs are managed following a cadence, which refers to the frequency at which you should be updating the quantitative metrics and key results, reviewing both the objectives and key results for alignment, and reporting on past OKRs while creating new ones. There is a common misconception that OKRs only work with quarterly cycles, but there's more to it than that. A good cadence could be like this:
Set a recurring time period weekly (ie. Fridays at 3pm) to update individual and team Key Results, Metrics, and Tasks. Also set a time monthly to update your company goals.
These updates include not only adding in where you're up to progress wise, but also making updates (as long as you have authority to) to the numbers themselves, as needed with the changing environment. Of course, there is an air of caution needed, so you're not shifting your goals just to meet them. There needs to be a valid reason to make changes that will ultimately benefit the company.
Have a time set quarterly to report on the previous quarter as well as build out new OKRs, the underlying metrics, and tasks.
Goal Management Software
You can of course use a spreadsheet, or any tool you come up with to manage the process, but it pays in efficiency and effectiveness to use a specific OKR management tool. In our opinion, there are two leading providers of OKR software, Perdoo, and Weekdone.
Perdoo claims to be the first platform to radically simplify strategy delivery. The company’s Roadmap tool helps to get everyone on the same page by creating clarity and transparency around business strategies. 90% of frontline employees have no link to the success or failure of strategy delivery. Perdoo enables everyone to visualize how everything is progressing.
Similarly, Weekdone helps businesses to set structured goals and align activities throughout their organizations. Users can track weekly progress, offer feedback, and ensure everyone is moving in the same direction. Other standout features include 1:1, which helps managers support and guide their teams with personalized discussions, and Feedback & Recognition, which allows managers to praise progress and boost morale with peer recognition.
In terms of pricing, Perdoo offers a free option for up to 10 people. However, if you require more licenses and wish to access more features, you’re looking at a monthly fee of $9 per user until you hit 100 users, then the price drops. Weekdone, on the other hand, is free for 1-3 people and offers tiered pricing packages for 4 users or above. For example, 91-100 users will set you back $6 per month per user ($7,200 annually for 100 users).
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