But if you get the goals wrong—or more accurately, if your goals are ineffective—you’ll end up spinning your wheels.
What does trying without getting anywhere look like?
Consistently missing your targets.
Hitting your targets but not seeing much impact in your organization.
The nagging feeling that you aren’t focusing on your real points of leverage.
As business consultants, we’ve helped hundreds of companies set more effective goals. And we’ve identified 3 key mistakes that leadership teams often make in their goal-setting process.
3 Goal-Setting Mistakes to Avoid
Choosing “softball” goals.
If your team is hyper-focused on “ticking the box” when it comes to achieving their goals, there’s a good chance you’re setting targets that are too easy to hit.
This mistake stems from good intentions—your team wants to be able to succeed, so they set their goals accordingly.
To fix this problem, you need a way to encourage more ambitious goal-setting and assess the progress made toward those bigger, meatier targets.
Not including enough specifics.
Have you ever been in a meeting where the “completeness” of a goal is called into question?
Let’s say the goal is to make a plan for new client onboarding. How do you know it’s done? Is the plan a document? Does it need signoff from key team members? Is it simply a brainstorming conversation?
To fix this problem, you need a hierarchy in your goal-setting process. The top-level target might be less specific, but there should be a way to detail exactly what achieving that target looks like.
Siloing goals within your organization.
A team that’s united is exponentially more powerful. Too often, goals are set at the leadership level—and get stuck there.
They may be shared with the rest of the team, but those employees don’t see a meaningful connection between leadership’s plans and the work they do on a daily basis.
The fix for this is to set top-level goals and then cascade them through your company. Each department, and each individual, can then create their own goals that align with the company’s overall aims.
Note: While the cascade typically starts top-down, more advanced companies also figure out how to cascade some of their goals in a bottom-up fashion, which fosters even more cooperation and collaboration.
The Goal-Setting Solution: OKRs
Wondering if a solution to tackle all of these goal-setting problems exists?
Would I leave you hanging? :)
The short answer is yes. It’s called OKRs, which stands for Objectives and Key Results.
OKRs is a goal-setting system used by companies like Intel, Google, Spotify, and Amazon. It’s for organizations that have ambitious aims and want their entire team in lockstep.
With OKRs, you can fix each of these 3 mistakes.
That’s why we’ve baked OKRs into our business operating system, GROWTH. It’s kind of like adding a turbo engine to your car: you can get where you want to go with a regular V6, but with OKRs you’ll get there faster and spend more time enjoying the ride.
The best way to learn about OKRs is to join our webinar on Tuesday, 11/16. Even if you’re familiar with OKRs already, you’ll have the chance to ask questions and get into the details of this goal-setting approach.
And CEOs, this webinar isn’t just for you. Your COO will go BANANAS for OKRs, so be sure to invite them as well. Department heads will also get a lot of value from the presentation.
Reserve your spot right here, and I look forward to seeing you next week.