For business leaders with ambitious growth plans, measurable targets and goal setting are key ways to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement. Although there are numerous approaches to goal setting, many leaders in successful businesses use a goal-setting methodology called OKRs, Objectives and Key Results, to accelerate growth and ensure a targeted approach to execution is used, which will lead to the desired expansion.
This article examines some of the most efficient ways corporate leaders use goal setting to speed up business growth, and some of the key elements that companies often miss when looking for the right objectives.
In simple terms, an objective is the result you’d like to achieve. When setting business-specific objectives and goals, there must be a unified view of the final outcome. As a result, an agreed commitment to the objective can be implemented across the business.
A business objective could be as simple as increasing brand awareness, or more specific, such as achieving an increased uptake for a selected service or product. Most companies do already have some goals and objectives, but it’s thought that very few of them have specific, well cascaded and communicated plans in place to hit them. This is precisely why it is not enough to just create some vague goals and objectives if your ambition is to grow the business quickly. All teams within a business should collaboratively create strategies that allow for a more focused tracking of progress, which is where Key Results come in. If an objective is what you want to achieve, then the Key Results provide a detailed, specific measure of how you will achieve it.
Choosing an overall objective is a wonderful start. Still, to ensure you’re able to succeed and grow, you’ll need some measurable points that will both help keep the business focused on the objective and measure the progress towards that final achievement.
These specific stepping stone goals provide employees and leaders with very specific goals that are aspirational, achievable and, importantly, measurable. Key results also allow a business to assess progress at any point within the timeframe allocated for completion.
Well-known businesses Netflix and Google have seen proven success using key result-based strategies. These methodologies are extremely flexible in their application and can be scaled up or down to suit the needs and objectives of the business.
Here’s an example of how it might work for a company looking at sustainability - note that numerical goals and timelines are used to keep key results measurable:
Objective: Achieve recognition as the most sustainable business in our industry
Key Result 1: Reduce fleet emissions by switching to 75% ultra-low emission vehicles.
Key Result 2: Use only 100% recyclable product packaging.
Key Result 3: Achieve 95% paperless invoicing by the end of the year.
For more examples of OKRs in action, check out our blog OKR examples to help you get started.
A vital piece of the puzzle to ensure success during the planning and implementation stage is to make objectives and key results accessible and shareable to avoid any disconnect in different locations or departments of the business.
Case Study: Nock Deighton, a large regional estate agent, used OKRs and the popular 1-3-5® methodology to communicate goals across multiple sites and implement growth. Read about their successes with goal setting.
For sustainable and rapid growth, it is imperative that the business has a clearly defined, inspirational vision separated into three mission-critical objectives and communicated to everyone in the business. Those working on any specific growth projects can then monitor progress and see where there might be strengths and shortfalls. This ensures consistency and helps understand how the business is performing overall and ultimately whether it is on course to achieve the leader’s overall vision and objectives.
One of the most impactful and often successful steps to achieving business goals is investment, whether it’s of time or resources.
For many leaders, tasks like performance monitoring can be extremely time-consuming. Investments in technology can streamline operations and open up more time for strategic, business-changing actions.
If you’re looking to clarify and implement more effective business growth goals using a combination of strategy and software, you can find out more in a 15-minute discovery call with our resident goal-setting guru, Pete Wilkinson.
Alternatively, if you have any questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to answer these and provide any further guidance you may need.