A guide to setting objectives for business growth

by Roger Longden | Feb 19, 2021

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As with any business change, setting objectives and getting started with OKRs isn’t a walk in the park. It takes dedication, time and effort. However, they are so worth the dedication once implemented. If you crack the art of writing effective OKRs, the world is your oyster when it comes to business growth. 

In this guide, we walk you through the process of setting effective objectives for business growth. 

 

Why set objectives in business?

Setting business objectives will help you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and it can help your business achieve new heights. 

Setting aspirational goals and objectives helps to:

  • Provide direction for the company 
  • Communicate and assign role responsibilities for employees
  • Improve internal communication
  • Increase market share

 

Setting objectives that make an impact

As we’ve always said, OKRs aren’t easy, and they’re only going to be as effective as you and your team’s commitment to them. Half-hearted OKRs are not really going to change anything, and will just add another layer of processes, 

Good OKRs however are the perfect link between team goals and individual action and they will really help drive your business forward. 

Internal communication can make or break your OKRs

One thing that is super important when it comes to implementing and setting OKRs is communication. Involve your team members, as they should be setting their own OKRs. If there is no involvement it is likely that resistance will build and when they’re introduced they are set up to fail from the start. Effective OKRs inspire growth and innovation rather than become a burden on your teams and organisation. 

Ideally, you want OKRs to be a collaborative experience and not mandated from the top down. Team members should be involved from all levels, but this doesn’t mean that every member of the team needs to own an OKR. Generally, if you include team members in the setting of their OKRs, they are much more likely to feel invested in their goals and objectives. 

Regular OKR reviews are essential 

At the end of the work period or cycle you use OKRs as a reference point to evaluate how well you did as a team in meeting your objectives. Using this information to then plan for your next OKR cycle. Regularly reviewing your business’ objectives will help you to make sure you’re staying on track towards your growth goal. 

OKRs are a great way to set goals for team members that will stretch their abilities and create strong working relationships. So, here is the low down on writing inspiring OKRs. 

 

How to write business objectives

Forgive us, but we are going to state the blindingly obvious here. OKRs are written in two parts. Part 1 refers to your Objectives. Part 2 refers to your Key Results. The objective part of OKRs refers to qualitative goals that are broad in their perspective and innovative in their nature, and so will inspire. 

Your objective statements should inspire and encourage the teams working on them to smash their goals. It’s important to give reasoning behind the goals and detail to team members what’s in it for them. Effective internal communication and buy-in are absolutely essential. 

When thinking about your objective statements you should think of them as shortened mission statements. Use phrases like ‘… which will…’ so that your team knows what the goal aims to achieve. Writing business objectives in this way allows your team to visualize why they need to push themselves to fulfil (or surpass!) their OKRs.

Inspiring objective statements are great but don’t get carried away. You don’t want to confuse your team, so don’t set too many OKRs. By keeping the focus clear your team is less likely to get bogged down in trying to do too many things at once. Remember laser-focus is what we’re looking for! 

 

Writing key results

Key results relate to a specific objective and are the way that you can judge whether you are achieving success against that objective. This makes them useful for OKR measurement. 

A well-defined key result can help you to understand how much of an objective has been achieved. Remember you want to apply stretch to your business objectives and so the key results are important to show where additional support may be required to meet the objective. 

A good key result needs to be measurable. Generally, we would suggest that metric key results always work best. Why? Because they provide a tangible measure for you and your team to keep an eye on. The transparency of this key result will likely drive your team on to inching ever closer to this figure.

 

How to increase business growth with OKRs

Boosting business growth is all about pushing yourself and your business the extra mile. OKRs can help you with this, by outlining objectives and stretch goals that encourage your team to perform to the best of their ability.

This guide should give you a great starting point when it comes to creating your first set of OKRs. But, as we mentioned, OKRs aren’t easy, so if you’re struggling, want a bit of advice or simply have an OKR question get in touch with one of our giants.