Updated: Sep 16
No team works well without goal-setting. If you don’t set expectations within your team, chances are they won’t perform well, no matter how skilled each employee might be.
That’s why it’s vital to set Objectives and Key Results within your team. Treat OKRs as your team’s road map, a guide for what they’re supposed to work towards. In this article, we outline four important steps you can take when making a plan for your team:
Be SMART and clear
Your OKR must be planned well. This means that your goals should be concrete and actionable to the people working every day to bring them to fruition. It helps to remember the acronym S.M.A.R.T.—this stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Your Objectives and Key results should not be nebulous. “Increase sales,” for example, is vague and would get different interpretations from your team.
However, if you translate “increase sales” into “get ten new clients to sign to our premium account in the next six months,” that becomes clearer to your team. You must take this further during the planning process and help your team see the value of your objectives. When you are presenting your plans, show them why this is valuable.
Why is it important that you get ten new premium accounts? Why should you be able to release the update on your website by next month? Beyond giving your companies clear targets, you should show them your vision so that they can understand what you’re trying to accomplish as a team.
Be focused and nurturing
It is much easier to train habits when you start at the beginning, rather than expecting them to be adapted midway through a cycle. If you want your employees to focus on your vision, you need to introduce these habits into the routine before the calendar year goes into full swing.
You should also be strict about what makes it to your annual OKR. For each team in your company, there should only be three objectives for a given year, with at most four key results for each objective. This helps the teams identify priority actions and events, which will empower them to make decisions on their own when the need arises.
Be a communicative manager
The first tool in an effective manager’s arsenal is communication. If you are able to convey your expectations with your teams, you will be able to provide them with the guidance that they’ll need to meet their objectives for the year.
Set up regular checkups with the teams, so you can monitor their progress and resolve concerns regarding any of the objectives. It should be clear that check-ins are about progress, not performance. You must convey to your teams that you are not after their ability to present themselves as good teams; rather, you want to help them actually become good teams that are able to work together. This means wrinkles in the process must be taken as a sign of growth, and not of failure.
Be open with your own managers
You will fail to achieve your objectives if you don’t seek the support of your own managers. Overall company direction is decided at the top. If your team or department’s goals run counter to the direction of the company, you will find it hard to execute these.
Before you begin in earnest, work on aligning your department’s OKRs with the company’s objectives for the year. Afterwards, set a meeting with top management and present the plans to them. If employees see that management is serious and invested in seeing them fulfilled, they will also take these more seriously.
It is important to set clear and measurable objectives and to make sound expectations from employees. People who do not have sound goals don’t achieve much, so it is important to present these from the beginning.
If you’re looking for a consultant in executive leadership in Melbourne and Sydney, get in touch with us to see how we can help. We offer Strategic Agility, Organisational Alignment, Outcome-focused training and more. Set an appointment today and let us talk about how we can build you stronger, more focused teams.