Types of Goals
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First: Define Your Goal Type
You can find several useful goal frameworks, and eventually, you will choose the one that best fits your company’s culture and values. But we’re going to share with you the two of the most widely used: SMART goals and OKRs.
Let’s start by understanding what are SMART goals and OKRs.
Specific: Clear, well defined, and significant
Measurable: Quantified and meaningful - results show progress and completion
Achievable: Realistic and attainable
Relevant: Aligned with your responsibilities, company goals, or mission
Time-Bound: Has a target date of completion
What is the benefit of using the SMART framework for goal setting?
The SMART framework allows you to focus your efforts on something that you can achieve and know when you have achieved it (“a successful result”). It also acts as a simple but clear guide for goal setting that most if not all people can follow – enabling adoption and sustainability.
“OKRs”, created by Andy Grove of Intel, is defined as “Objectives and Key Results.” It is a collaborative goal-setting framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes. OKRs enable you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals – with two key components:
OKRs focus on the most important priorities. With a clear objective and measurable key results to track towards completion, you are positioned to achieve your goals successful.
OKRs are becoming very popular globally with Google being the one of their adopters in 1999. See the video below from John Doerr, famous author of Measure What Matters, on why the secret to success is setting the right goals.
Which should you use between the two frameworks - “OKRs and SMART goals”?
Fortunately, you have a third option which is what we recommend – use both. SMART goals teach you to write practical and effective goals while OKRs help you align these goals to broader organizational or company goals.
These two frameworks can work together for amazing and powerful results.
1. Let’s examine your company objectives. What are you trying to accomplish this quarter or year? Which elements of your company’s current goals can you contribute to?
2. Then let’s identify your objective. What do you want to accomplish?
3. Now, determine 3-5 measurable key results. (And make sure each passes the SMART methodology)
Going along with the previous example:
Each of these Key Results (KRs) is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your larger goal, and time-bound to deadlines. You’re on your way to success!
Want to practice writing your own goals? Check out our goal-setting worksheet for SMART goals and OKRs.
Since we learned about how to set goals, let’s determine how often should your company set and review them.
Some companies use an annual cycle but those that use SMART goals and OKRs utilized a more frequent cycle – quarterly or monthly.
We suggest that you start with quarterly goals then move on to monthly goals when your company and employees are ready. A monthly frequency allows for more early feedback and course corrections – making the company adaptive and responsive to changing conditions.
Here’s why we recommend shorter goal cycles:
Shorter-term goals position you for success and a lower chance of not getting completed. A lot could happen in a year or even a quarter. A global recession could happen in less than a month. Why invest in plans that will likely change later?
Quarterly or monthly goal-setting creates opportunities to achieve successful milestones for you and the rest of your company. This approach enables and motivates people further increasing adoption of your goals program.
On an annual goal cycle, your employees get just one chance per year to be recognized for hitting their goals. To learn about the transformative power of recognition, read our article The Science of Recognition and Rewards, then maximize it by spreading your goal cycles across the calendar.
Managers have greater visibility of employee performance. More importantly, at the end of each goal cycle, managers can provide effective feedback and coaching that gives employees sufficient time to adjust and improve. This enables more employees to be successful and be recognized – a clear win-win for employees and the company.
Want to dive deeper? Check out this article - 5 Reasons Why Quarterly Goals will Benefit You.
Equipped with a better understanding of what kinds of goals your performance management program should consider, and on what frequency, you’re ready to start building your program!
Next, we’ll talk detailed steps. See you soon for session 3!
Understand the pre-work for a company goals program.
Developing the Goals Process
Create your goals setting process and initial program roadmap
Get funds and team support.
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