Why Should You Set Long-Term Objectives in Your Business?

by Carly Clyne | May 30, 2022

time icon 2 mins

Setting goals is something we all do, that could be in our personal or professional life. Most business leaders will be familiar with setting objectives for their companies.

Setting long-term goals and objectives will force you to think about and organise your goals and plans like long-term objectives, which will help you visualise any possible roadblocks and force you to prepare your business for them. Thinking long term about your business is vital for its success.

What are long term objectives?

As the name suggests, long-term objectives will take many years to come to fruition, usually between 5-10 years. Planning any more than 10 years isn’t easy. How do you know what is or isn’t going to happen so far in advance? 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t set such long term objectives – especially in terms of an exit plan, for example – be prepared to adapt and adjust to take account of changing situations continually.

Long-term objectives are achieved by using a series of short and medium-term goals as stepping stones along the way to the endpoint. Breaking down your long term goals into smaller, often more achievable goals is a great way to ensure your ultimate success.

Long-term objectives are more strategic and require a vision of what your business will look like in the distant future. Business objectives don’t have to be financial, as one might assume. You’ll see later on as we share some examples. 

Here are some examples of long term business objectives

  • Market through a new channel
  • Penetrate a new demographic
  • Expand into a unique geographical location 
  • Widen your product offering
  • Migrate to a new software platform
  • Acquire a competitor

 

How can you link OKRs to your longer-term objectives?

So now you understand what a long term objective is, how do you go about reaching them? 

OKRs are an outstanding tool to use alongside your long term objectives. Anyone can use OKRs because there’s no right or wrong way to structure them, they differ for each organisation and their strategic priorities. OKRs encourage organisational alignment around long-term goals while allowing individuals to take ownership of projects big and small.

OKRs aren’t just plucked out of thin air; they’re derived from your company’s strategic priorities. Because OKRs align with long term strategy, they effectively steer entire organisations towards the completion of their goals. This is a clear benefit of the OKR framework, especially when compared to other goal-setting methodologies better suited for short-term purposes.

You can build and execute fast when you have your long-term plan in place and with OKRs clearly on your mind, as you can be sure that you’re not running in an opposite direction to where you want to go.

It’s worthwhile to set quarterly objectives as quarterly targets provide more manageable objectives. A shorter cycle that lets teams see results faster without sacrificing their ability to test and make changes leads to greater agility.

Breaking down your larger goals into quarterly pieces gives your teams more tangible results to drive and gives them the ability to set better targets based on their previous results. 

What’s important to remember is that OKRs are not a replacement for strategy. Each objective and its associated key results are a stepping stone towards achieving a broader strategy around your business’ mission. Everyone in the organisation must understand this distinction and that strategy is clearly defined before top company OKRs are established. 

We’ve helped many household names identify their strategic priorities and turn them into impactful OKRs. Speak to our team if you require some support in your long term planning.