Written by Pete Wilkinson

Last updated 18 February 2022 ·

Why is it important to cascade objectives for business success?

Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction - John F. Kennedy.

What does cascading objectives actually mean?

The term ’cascading objectives’ refers to the effective communication of key strategic priorities from the leader of an organisation downwards amongst the wider business. The result is that all employees at all levels, be that leadership, management or frontline, fully understand what the business aims for. They can make informed decisions about where to focus their hard work on a daily basis to achieve exactly what the business has set out to achieve. Cascading objectives provides purpose and direction.

Many businesses fail to do this effectively.

Why is it important?

The nature of cascading objectives allows the focus and direction to be set at the top and shared amongst the wider business. Once all teams are aware of this focus, they can then be given the autonomy to decide exactly how they can have the most impact towards achieving these organisational goals. Employee focus and performance become aligned with the business vision and objectives. The more informed and included employees are, the more effective they will be in their work. Sharing the organisational goals increases employee engagement and effectiveness dramatically as less time is spent wondering what to work on. Instead, employees can devise a plan structured towards achieving these top-level objectives. It inspires ownership as people are more engaged with what they help create.

Set the structure

Cascading objectives allows employees to deliver their best and most impactful work.

We found the 1-3-5® planning methodology provides a high-effective structure to plan out priorities at any level combining the key focus cascaded from above and allowing this to be broken down into a series of goals and milestones at each level ready to put into action. Each time, objectives and their measurable goals or key results are made visible to the level below, allowing them to focus on the area most relevant to them and create their own objectives off the back of that.

These measurable goals, or key results, are created for each cascaded objective as they travel through the organisation. Set at every level in every team, key results contain specific, measurable detail which signifies progress being made towards that particular objective. Objectives and key results are a very popular and effective goal-setting framework that supports the cascading of objectives throughout a business.

The end result

Once a business has successfully cascaded its objectives, with all teams working on their own structured plans, becoming highly aligned and working hard towards the common goal, it’s truly transformational. It allows leaders to see exactly which team or individual is performing particularly well and respond with recognition and reward, further enhancing employee engagement. It also allows any development areas to be identified and resolved with further training, redeployment etc. It fosters a culture of high performance, ambition and growth.

For more information on exactly how Objectives and Key Results cascade within an organisation, check out our blog explaining this in more detail: How do OKRs cascade?

Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about this topic, please reach out to us directly at, and we will be happy to provide all the help and guidance you need.

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