The Most Effective Way of SETTING OUR GOALS and the Most Efficient Way of ACHIEVING Them

As the year comes to a close, goal setting is one of the ways you can get into the next year fully prepared.  Setting goals gives you a sense of direction and helps you prioritize what’s important.  Without goals, all the motivation and zeal for the next year would be pointless if you are not clear on what you are working towards.

We commonly know that the goals we set need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound).  However, apart from being SMART, our goals can be made more effective.  There is a way that we can specify our goals well enough to make them clear to us, and therefore more effective.

 

Objective and Key Results Model

One way to achieve this is by using the Objective and Key Results model.  This model is an effective way to help us set our goals as it specifies the objectives and the key results.  Google commonly uses this approach to goal setting and has been shown to be beneficial to the organization setting attainable goals.  OKR goals are set frequently, frequently tract, and re-evaluated frequently, usually on a quarterly basis.

 

Setting objectives 

The objectives show the direction of the goals.  For the organization, the objectives give the direction showing where it needs to be in the specified time.  For effective goal setting in the organization, there should be a quarterly definition of goals.

Set three to five top objectives.  These objectives should set a pace for tactical steps you need to achieve the goals.  It’s essential that you separate attainable from aspirational goals.  Attainable goals are the kind you can achieve with your current resources and at the desired time.  Aspirational goals are the end-goals, of where you would like to be even though you cannot achieve this position in the foreseeable future.  Therefore, for goal effectiveness, set ambitious but realistic goals.

When setting goals, it’s essential that you create an environment that allows for flexibility.  The current business environment is highly dynamic and could change such that you need to adjust your goals somewhere along the year.  The flexibility of the goals is important to suit the fast-changing business environment.

Effective goals need to be exponential goals rather than incremental.  Incremental goals focus on making your current goals better.  Exponential goals focus on making something different. Exponential goals, therefore, are more future-oriented and recognize the uncertainties in the environment.  They don’t limit themselves to the seen capabilities of the organization, but goals that can thrive in spite of the uncertainties.

 

Setting key results 

Key results are the milestones or things that allow the company to get there.  The milestones have to be trackable, understandable and communicated throughout the organization.  Setting key results shows the expected results for each goal.  It helps us know how to measure goal achievement and how we shall know that we have achieved our goal.  For each objective, set 5 key results to look out for.

Each goal describes how you will achieve it and how you will measure it.

For example:

We will (objective) as measured by (three key results).

According to Google’s executives, if a key result doesn’t have a number, it is not a key result.  Further, if more than 3 key results are put for every objective, no one will remember them hence it’s important to maintain them at 3 key results.

 

Effective ways to achieve goals

Now that you have set your goals, what’s the most effective way of achieving them?

The essential thing is to write them down and look at them often so as to hold yourself and each other accountable.  Without writing a goal down, it is as good as a wish and it will soon be forgotten once more urgent things come to mind.  Organizations need to write goals down and communicate them throughout the organization.

 

Use a bullet journal to write your goals.  This simplifies them to a point of understanding them at a glance.  You don’t necessarily have to carry along the journal with you at all times, you can list them on an app on your phone so you can look at them whenever.  The more you look at them, the more they stick on your mind such that your daily activities are geared towards the overall outcome of achieving the goals.

It’s important to remember that your goals are not a task list, and you will not view them as such.  OKR goals are about adding value, and not ticking a to-do list. Remember when you look at the goals that you need to be adding value to them in your activities and not to merely tick them from your list.

Research has shown that very few people, or organizations fall through on their New Year resolutions.  Remember that your goals are not resolutions.  They require regular follow-through and constant checking otherwise they will be overtaken by daily events.  This further emphasizes the importance of listing them down, in a bullet journal, somewhere you can commonly look at them.

The OKR method of goal setting is more effective especially because the goals are agile.  The goals have shorter goal cycles, allowing them to be tweaked when necessary and revised often.  On a quarterly basis, this is a short enough life cycle to revise the goals and adjust them such that they respond to the change in the environment.

Conclusively, the OKR model is effective in goal setting and achievement because it simplifies goals well enough that they are easily understood.  The goals are straight forward and goal-setting itself is a lightweight process.  Unlike what’s commonly expected in the corporate planning process, this kind of goal setting reduces the time spent setting goals from months to days.  That way, the organization can focus its time and resources not so much on setting the goals but on achieving them.

 

The Destiny Team