In this section, we'll be covering recommended Goal Methodologies that you can utilize and deploy to your company. Please review all the following sections carefully. Each of the chapters are broken down into separate articles, which are linked in the table of contents below.
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With clear data points on the importance of a robust goals strategy, the next question that customers have is: how should I build my goals program?
The answer is: there is no perfect program for every company! Every organization has different levels of transparency, speed of business, and hierarchy. Thus, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What we do recommend is selecting the right goal methodology for your company, and committing to it.
A goal methodology consists of the program structure, goal components, and best practices for rolling out goals company-wide. The below methodologies have been effective for small, medium, and large companies, and across numerous industries as well.
3.1 Objective Key Results (OKRs)
- Objective: Increase revenue from European customers by 30%
- Hire 2 new Account Executives in Germany by March 2020
- Upgrade all European customers to new contract and pricing by June 2020
- Increase European customer adoption of new platform product by 40%
Who Should Use OKRs
OKRs are flexible enough for companies of all sizes and industries. Big tech firms in particular- such as Google, Amazon, Adobe, and Microsoft - have adopted the OKR methodology. OKRs have also gained traction among smaller, forward-thinking organizations in the past few years.
OKR Best Practices
Rollout: To drive organizational alignment, we recommend that OKRs are set at the company-wide level first, and then shared with all employees. This visibility provides employees with insight into key corporate objectives that they can consider when they craft their own goals.
Number of OKRs: We recommend no more than two or three OKRs per team. Several OKRs will dilute the attention and effort that teams can give to them. Choose the most compelling OKRs, track your progress towards your goals, and use the data from previous OKRs to determine your next objectives.
Transparency: All employees should know who is working on which OKRs, and the desired outcomes. Transparency increases interdepartmental collaboration and encourages employees to support each other.
Specificity: All key results should be quantifiable and time-bound. By having numbers and percentages on key results, teams can be better informed for future goal-setting. Additionally, a firm deadline creates a sense of urgency, and a higher likelihood of completion.
Measurement: We recommend evaluating OKR completion on a quarterly basis. This helps to keep employees accountable, and better inform goal-setting for the next quarter. However, goals can be discussed and updated on a weekly basis during 1:1s. This helps drive alignment between employees and managers.
- Alignment with Company Goals: No matter how compelling an OKR is, it’s of little use if it isn’t aligned with company goals. Ideally, each level of the company has an OKR supporting the level above it — individual OKRs support team OKRs, which support department OKRs, which support big-picture company OKRs. The company OKRs are based on the organization’s values and mission. When each level supports the next, the organization is much more likely to attain its most important objectives
- Rollout: To drive organizational alignment, we recommend that OKRs are set at the company-wide level first, and then shared with all employees. This visibility provides employees with insight into key corporate objectives that they can consider when they craft their own goals.
3.2 SMART Goals
Example SMART Goals
- Increase the number of Instagram followers by 10% to 100,000 followers by June 30
- Increase sales revenue by 15% to $200,000 by the end of the quarter
- Close 20 support tickets every day for the month of July
Who Should Use Smart Goals
The SMART methodology has existed since 1981, so many people are already familiar with it (they may use it outside of work too!) Given the flexibility of SMART goals, they can be used by almost any organization, and at any stage of the business life-cycle.
Smart Goals Best Practices
Align on Goal Progress:
Given the time-bound nature of SMART goals, we recommend frequent syncs with stakeholders regarding goal progress and updates. On a weekly or bi-weekly cadence, goal owners can meet with teammates to share progress, blockers, and help needed to hit their goal in the desired timeframe. SMART goals can be discussed in 1:1s to drive alignment between managers and employees too.
Since SMART goals are business-focused objectives that require significant time and effort, we recommend celebrating smaller milestones to drive motivation. So for instance, if a sales rep has a SMART goal of increasing revenue by 15% in 2019, he should get recognition from his manager and peers when he increases revenue by 5%, and then 10%.
3.3 FAST Goals
Example FAST Goals
- Create 500 marketing-qualified leads
- Complete 3 integrations
- Onboard 90% of customers in 3 months or less
Who Should Use FAST Goals
FAST goals are appropriate for companies of all sizes, and across diverse teams and roles. Companies in more traditional industries - such as AB InBev, Burger King, and Kraft Heinz - prefer FAST goals because they “enable employees to align their activities with corporate strategy and to coordinate more effectively across silos.” (source: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/with-goals-fast-beats-smart/)
FAST Goals Best Practices
Encourage employees to align goals:
Ensure that all employees have visibility into top-level goals, so they can align their objectives to these goals. Seeing the impact of their contributions drives productivity and engagement.
Find the right way to drive ambitious goals:
According to FAST goal methodology, ambitious goals are a key component to driving an organization forward. To encourage employee creation of ambitious goals, set expectations that employees are not required to hit their exact target every time. Or you could provide a reward for those who do achieve challenging goals. The key takeaway is to determine what best motivates your unique employee population, and stay consistent with that approach.