For some of us startups, who are fascinated by the Google success story, the importance of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) in strategically aligning the company’s goals with its employees is imperative. In OKR, employees are asked to draft their own objectives and key results metrics they will be following in the next project or quarter which they are held accountable for. Similarly, OKR is defined for a team and then department and in this way goals are defined and maintained from bottom up to finally define organizational goals. Since the employees themselves suggested them, the organization can count on them to deliver. But is this a viable approach for all type of organizations (after all Google is GOOGLE) and what about an organization where objectives are not that well defined and where the management does not stress on the process?
A company has to have clear goals and objectives. Period. An organization without clear goals and strategy outlined is like a row boat where every person is rowing in a different direction and getting nowhere. It is therefore essential to develop a clear vision and strategy and translate them into understandable goals and measures. It is also extremely important to include and build passion for the vision, strategy, goals among those who are implementing them and to provide clarity regarding individual roles and requirements.
In case your organization does not seem to be doing so, talk to your manager or your manager’s manager or the owner directly till you get the answers. Most employees are hesitant to approach senior management for anything (especially a question regarding goals and targets) but you must understand that unless you do so, you cannot take control of your growth trajectory and achieve what you want.
Once you know and have listed down individual roles and responsibility, you find that everyone need not contribute to every single organizational objective directly. For example, company’s objective may be to (1) Develop technical solutions (2) Increase sale of its technical products. As a technical developer, you should be concerned with just the first objective and not the second even though your manager maybe responsible for both. A good manager would try to isolate his team goals from his personal goals to avoid frustration and disharmony but even if he is not able to do so, you must register your concern if it’s impacting your productivity. As all personal goals and organization goals are ultimately connected and interdependent, by not worrying about sales, you can concentrate on developing the product better increasing its chances of better sales.
Also, make sure you do not take on too many objectives. You do not want to spread yourself thin and end up doing many tasks with mediocrity rather than doing some with precision. Monitor your progress and be open to discuss on finding the best combination of what you want to do, and what the company wants you to do.
The entire process of setting challenging goals for yourself and achieving them with a deadline makes you more disciplined as you harness the power of effort and attention. Once you know what you have set for yourself, do not get distracted with tasks that are not contributing to the overall goals and persistently try to achieve them. Hopefully, your management and colleagues will follow suit.
Let me know in the comments below your thoughts, i would be happy to discuss! All the best.