Each company has a different reality, with different moments and challenges. But while this is true, there are points common to all of them. One of these points is that, in the first place, the company needs to survive, support itself, pay the bills and employees. Only after that can we think about growing and increasing profits. Knowing this, how to set goals that are both possible and challenging important to all of them?

As we talked about here on our blog before, an important point when setting goals for a company is that they are SMART. When we follow this approach correctly, we are already able to define the goals in a way that corresponds to the two criteria we talked about above: possible and challenging.

How to be SMART in practice

But why does this happen? We already know that a SMART goal must be, at the same time, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and temporal. Okay, so we found that these two points will already be solved using these types of goals, but then you ask me: “João, how do I do this in practice?”.

Several companies have been opting for OKRs to manage their goals, as we have said here. When we use OKRs in our company, two points are already easily identified and we are already taken care of: all key results (KRs) must be measurable, and as we have cycles with defined periodicity (3 months, most of the time), they are already temporal .

“Okay, but it still doesn’t take me to have possible and challenging goals”.

Here two more SMART points come in, the attainable and the relevant. Having certainty that the objective to be measured is relevant, for example, is the first step in ensuring that our KRs are also relevant to the company.

Due to the more aspirational nature of the objectives when we use OKRs, we hardly see one that is not relevant. Of course, sometimes the goals created in less experienced environments with the methodology are not the most relevant for the moment, but they are practically always relevant. If you have questions about using OKRs in your company, no problem! We teach you step by step everything you need in our paper on how to implement OKRs.

How to set proper goals

Having the objective defined, we have to create goals (KRs) to measure our progress in relation to that dream. In order to make these goals relevant, we have to think “how do I know that I reached my goal?”. Of course, each company has a different reality. While one may still be thinking about survival, another may want to grow, and yet another may want to stay on top. Find out what time your company is at and start from there, always aiming for the next level.

From there, you start to define your goals. If your goal is to survive and establish yourself in the market, the most relevant goals will be related to that. If you are in the growth stage, think about how you can measure that growth, and if your company is already in the stage of being the market leader, think about how to stay there and maybe expand into more markets.

And how can I achieve these goals?

Obviously it makes no sense for you to set impossible goals. Unrealistic goals discourage employees who, seeing that they will not be able to achieve the expected result, will let them fall into disgrace, with the thought of “what sense do I give everything I have to reach an impossible goal?”.

It is important to use past measures (if any) to have a basis when defining an attainable goal. As the OKR methodology is a continuous improvement methodology, in most cases we should aim (and achieve) better numbers than in the last cycle. Sometimes, due to adverse situations, this will not happen, and we had an example of this recently with the changes brought to the world with the Coronavirus pandemic. But there comes another power to use OKRs, adaptability.

Use and abuse the small cycles of OKRs, usually carried out in periods of 3 months to adapt your company to the circumstances that arise and increasingly have a more solid and, preferably, growing company. Count on Roads for that!

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