A business using goal setting as an effective tool for growth must always have a consistent and measured approach to implementing targets and be 100% clear on exactly what they are trying to achieve, be that faster growth, market expansion, increased profit margins.

It is particularly important that these ambitions and strategic goals set by high-level leadership teams are cascaded through the business, where middle management, and their own goal setting, are crucial to the success of the overall strategy.

What are OKRs?

OKRs are a popular goal-setting methodology, often executed by management teams in ambitious businesses. OKRs, Objectives and Key Results, help establish the strategic vision, which is then broken down into objectives and measurable goals to work towards in order to achieve what the business has set out to achieve and keep on track.

This article includes some examples of OKRs for middle-management in action covering different roles and how this goal-setting framework of OKRs cascades effectively from senior leaders, through middle managers, out to the rest of the business.

A framework for middle management goal setting

How might a business and its middle management team use OKRs to implement a company-wide strategy to help them succeed?

We’ll look at a simplified example: - a business looking to expand and implement additional revenue streams.

Top-Level Business Objective: Add a new income stream from a new service offering

Key Result: Increase profit on existing ‘Service A’ by 10% to maintain cash flow

Key Result: Recruit ten people for the new service team with appropriate specialisms

Key Result: Official launch of new ‘Service B’

These key results will then be split down further and distributed to senior leaders and middle managers within the business. For this objective and accompanying key results to be achieved, they will be cascaded down to middle managers in Marketing, Sales, and HR, who will then further break them down to create their own set of OKRs.

Example OKRs for middle managers: Marketing

When the company’s objective reaches middle management, they will then apply their own objectives to help achieve the marketing goals, and therefore, contribute to the success of the company-wide vision.

HEAD OF MARKETING

Business Vision: Add a new income stream from a new service offering

Key Result: Increase turnover on existing service by 10% to maintain cash flow

Marketing Objective: Increase website traffic for other teams to convert to sales

Key Result: Increase organic web traffic by 20%

Key Result: Achieve a 5% CTR on paid social media ads

This could then be broken down even further within this team so that each specialist can set their own OKRs. For example:

CONTENT MANAGER (Marketing)

Objective: Increase organic web traffic by 20%

Key Result: Create four x 1500 word blogs per month

Key Result: Increase average keyword ranking position for five terms related to ‘Service A’ by ten places

Example OKRs For middle managers: Sales

For sales, the same framework would be implemented.

HEAD OF SALES

Business Vision: Add a new income stream from a new service offering

Key Result: Increase turnover on existing service by 10% to maintain cash flow

Sales Objective: Improve sales conversions

Key Result: Increase renewals on ‘Service A’ by 5% to 60% total

Key Result: Increase qualified lead sales conversions by 10%

Again this could be broken down by teams or individuals working for the Head of Sales to help achieve the objectives set out by the company, as follows:

SALES DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Objective: Increase qualified lead sales conversions by 10%

Key Result: Increase outbound sales calls by 10% per week

Key Result: Enhance personalised follow up by adding two more steps

Example OKRs For middle managers: HR

HR may be looking at another Key Result, but the steps addressed by these individual teams all contribute to the same vision outlined by the OKRs.

HEAD OF HR

Business Vision: Add a new income stream from a new service offering

Key Result: Recruit ten people for the new team with appropriate specialisms

HR Objective: Prepare recruitment for new roles

Key Result: Identify necessary skills, qualifications and experiences for applicants

Key Result: Outline new department hierarchy and role titles

Key Result: Prepare job role descriptions for all ten new roles

HR MANAGER

Objective: Prepare job role descriptions for all ten new roles

Key Result: Establish the detail of roles and responsibilities for each role

Key Result: Establish a suitable salary level for each role and sign off from Finance

Improving the strategy and introducing the ultimate OKR planning tool

The OKRs in this example provide a very clear path to success with achievable and trackable steps cascading from top-level leadership to middle management and beyond that. For more examples, check out our blog offering OKR examples to help you get started.

To improve this even further, we would look to implement the 1-3-5® methodology using the OKR format as follows:

1 x Overall vision for the business.

3 x Mission-critical objectives, key to the success of the overall vision.

5 x Key results or goals for each of these objectives.

Try it out for yourself. Create your own goal-setting plan using the Free OKR Builder™.