Executives and managers must cascade OKR goals effectively throughout the organization to give teams the best odds of successfully achieving their objectives. Cascading OKRs ensures alignment at all levels and allows teams to contribute directly to the most important company priorities. If your organization is new to OKR goal setting, use the following guide to cascade goals down and align them up to drive better performance while avoiding redundancies.
Set Top-Level Objectives
Begin by setting 3-5 organizational objectives you can laser focus on for a specific time frame. For most companies, a quarterly schedule works best because it gives one week to complete 10% of each Objective, with a 2-3 week grace period. Base these top-level objectives on your company’s strategic plan. Use the SMART goal setting method for each one to maximize results.
Align & Measure Objectives
Next, cascade Objectives down to specific departments or units. (Conversely, align goals from across the organization to your top goals). Ensure involvement from senior leadership and managers to avoid conflicts or misalignment. Repeat the process, so each department has 3-5 Objectives.
Additionally, establish how progress will be measured on each Objective. Identify the key metrics that will indicate the completion or success of each. Our OKR (Objective and Key Result) goal setting system supports measurable goals by making it simple for managers and teams to set Objectives and track their progress.
Repeat at the Team & Individual Level
After setting departmental goals, cascade them down to the team and individual level. Have managers collaborate with their teams to make sure all Objectives support company-level goals. This will help teams develop a line of sight into how their contributions “move the needle” and impact business outcomes.
Achieve Ongoing Goals Management
Review goals regularly, making sure your teams are on track towards achieving their Objectives. Busy managers can benefit from goal tracking software, which has features like dashboards and reports to provide them with at-a-glance goal progress updates. Encourage teams to break down Objectives into smaller tasks and tactics, so they become more manageable. Some goals should be more challenging than others, but all should be realistic.
Check In Frequently
One critical aspect of cascading goals effectively is performing weekly check-ins to review progress. During these brief one-on-ones, revisit goals, provide feedback on performance, and discuss priorities for the coming week. Be sure to evaluate goal progress against your pre-established performance measures.
Use Development Planning to Achieve Bigger Objectives
Using OKRs quarterly helps teams achieve short-term goals, but to drive long-term success, you must include development planning in your performance management system. Drive employees to gain new skills by setting some especially challenging objectives, and review development opportunities during performance-related discussions. Employee development also benefits your organization – not only do your teams get to work towards their personal goals by expanding their skills and evolving in their roles, but the company also experiences better overall performance for improved business results.
Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!