Wondering if your company is OKR ready?
Limiting strategy to high impact objectives
Imagine thinking – here’s a goal that won’t have much impact, but hey, let us anyway tackle it first! To achieve success, every organization needs a hierarchy of purpose. Without prioritizing the objectives, it is impossible for the organization to grow and prosper. You need to cut the noise and make your organization focus on the objectives that will have the biggest room to provide the desired outcome.
Every objective may appear to be important for your organization, but having your finger in too many pies can be the recipe for failure rather than success. As obvious as it may sound, many organizations perform poorly and are all over the place simply because they don’t have specific priorities and instead work to achieve all of their priorities at once. As per research conducted by HBR, only 20% of the organizations are able to meet 80% of their objectives in the span of 12 months. This is the reason that limiting your organizational strategy to high-impact objectives is the route to drive your organization towards the desired success.
One of the main reasons that organizations fail is the lack of a clear sense about what objective will have the highest impact and hence, end up prioritizing the wrong objectives. Organizations with the strongest focus on acquiring high-impact objectives tend to outshine their peers. Such organizations limit their strategies to their utmost priority – the objectives that have the potential of having the highest impact on the organization.
Simply ask yourself “what matters the most” and whatever answer you get, revolve your strategy around it to steer your organization in chasing the high impact objective a.k.a what matters the most. Prioritizing sets the agenda in terms of what really matters, which is then reflected in how you allocate the organizational resources – especially the two scarce resources: money and time. Not working in an alignment towards high impact objectives results in fracturing and scattering the efforts of your teams who end up working at counterpoint to each other. On the flip side, successful organizations make all the moving parts work in alignment with each other to attain the high impact objectives in a manner consistent with their mission and vision.
Why should I limit my organization’s strategy to high-impact objectives?
The best reason boils down to the 80/20 rule. As per this rule, 80% of the success and results will be yielded by 20% of the effort. It basically means that it would be silly to focus your time and effort equally amongst all the organizational objectives as only 20% of them will deliver the bigger chunk of the success.
Moreover, prioritizing chasing high-impact objectives will boost the rate of success, augment alignment across the entire organization and increase the focus of the organization towards achieving the high-impact objectives. It helps in clearing all the doubts of your organizational teams and most importantly, cultivates an execution culture and mindset.
John Doerr’s Measure What Matters Highly advocates Goal Planning and reflection to contribute to the high impact making organizational objectives.
For the enrichment of the conversation, a manager might ask the Goal contributor the following
1. What Goals do you plan to focus on to drive the greatest value for your role, your team, and/or the company?
2. Which of these OKRs aligns with key initiatives in the organization?
Once done, to take the regular update on the progress, the manager might ask the contributor these questions:
A) How are your OKRs coming along?
B) What critical capabilities do you need to be successful?
C) Is there anything stopping you from attaining your objectives?
D) What OKRs need to be adjusted – or added, or eliminated— in light of shifting priorities?
How Can I limit my strategy to high-impact objectives?
1. Understand the organization’s objectives
Organizations practicing upward alignment are more likely to effectively limit their strategies to high-impact objectives. The reason is, in downward alignment you could be heading the most unified and productive team to be ever formed on the planet, but if the goals they are working towards are not of high impact, it can all go down to drain. You would never want your organizational teams to spend their time speeding a bunch of new products into the market when from the point of view of the business when reinvesting in the flagship products has more potential of having a better impact.
2. Align team goals with organizational objectives
Armed with clarity around your organization’s intended destination, it’s time for you to get the team members all rowing towards that high-impact objective. To combat the risk of your organizational teams pulling in different directions, initiate by having clear and frequent communication, especially about how the selected objectives are of high impact and why these are hand-picked amongst the rest. Proceed by establishing team goals that align with the ultimate objective. A study by Haward Business Review confirms that organizations with highly-aligned employees and teams are more than twice as likely to be the top performers.
3. Encourage teams to make time for more important but not urgent work
Steven Covey’s seven famous habits have been circulating around for more than 25 years now. But it hurts nobody to be reminded about tried-and-true principles. Covey recommended splitting the objectives into four quadrants – Important and urgent, important and not urgent, not important and urgent, not important and not urgent. It’s exceptionally easy to find oneself spending the majority of the time hanging out in quadrant three – not important and urgent. This is employees and leaders easily identify the objective that is “urgent” and commit the blunder of them to be of high impact.
4. Keep an eye on the progress
Once you are done with absorbing the organizational objectives, prioritizing the high-impact ones from them, and aligning your organizational teams towards achieving them, your work is not over but rather has just begun. Now it’s mandated for you to have a fine bird’s eye view of what’s going on with your teams so that you can offer feedback and implement adjustments to keep them well on track. An agile performance management platform will enable you to have regular check-ins and provide real-time feedback to assure that these high-impact objectives are attained in the desired technique. It’s important to ensure that your teams are prioritizing high-impact objectives, but it’s arguably even more important to offer appreciation and positive reinforcement when they are well on track.
Need more assistance with the classification of what objectives matter the most for your organization? Get in touch with us today and give your organization a medium that does it all – set goals, align the teams, regulate their performance, and provide feedback to them in real-time. So, what are you waiting for when you know that this is what your organization needs? Contact us today!