Create winning goals and lead teams to visionary success with the brutally clear science of goal management.
The skill of goal writing is a fundamental skill for every leader who wants to achieve success.
This article will guide you through the science of creating winning goals.
Understanding goals, outcomes, and tasks in Waymaker
The most important skill is the ability to set an effective goal for yourself and for those that report to you.
This skill is foundational in your ability to lead a group of people from A to Z.
If no-one knows what ‘Z’ is and what the steps are to get there, then you have no chance of ever reaching it.
Goals are the building blocks of strategic alignment.
The ‘Lego blocks’ of the Waymaker Leadership Curve.
Progress in vision, market, strategy, business model, customer and employee experience come from setting and achieving goals in these areas.
That is why Question 7 in our Leadership Curve framework is ‘What one, two or three things that if delivered in the next quarter or half will shift the needle on the business?’
Those things are goals.
The skill of goal writing, mapping and delivery is a fundamental skill for every leader who wants to achieve success.
Goals vs OKRs
At Waymaker the base methodology for goal setting is from the science OKRs (Objectives & Key Results).
An OKR is a goal setting tool first ideated by Peter Drucker in ‘Management by Objectives’, then formalised by Andy Grove the CEO of Intel and made famous by John Doerr who taught it to Google as a start-up.
Whilst we use the base method of OKRs we’ve found most people find using plain language more effective.
We’ve also added some practical tools such as ‘Tasks’ to connect the big thinking goals into the practical day to day.
At Waymaker we talk about Goals, Outcomes and Tasks.
A goal is the same as an objective and an outcome is the same as a key result if you’re familiar with the OKR terms. A task is a task.
However, Waymaker automates the science and rapidly increases speed of goal setting and alignment across teams from 2 to 2,000+.
Waymaker is built for today’s leaders to win through clarity, data & demonstrable ROI.
No longer do you have a paper based ‘one page plan’ but you know have a ‘one cloud’ plan that is your strategic command centre to lead your teams to success wherever they are, whatever the circumstance.
Goals, what are they?
A goal is the ‘what’ you need to achieve. It is a specific achievement that is inspirational, concrete, and substantial.
Goals will come from all areas of the organisation.
As a base starting point the organisation should set a single-minded goal in the future that it is moving towards to achieve.
As a start-up, that might be only 12 weeks.
For emerging organisations that is most likely to be annual. For more mature organisations you’ll likely have clarity of the 3-year goal and the supporting 2- and 1-year goals.
The first finish line is the organisation’s first milestone goal with accountable outcomes.
The most important thing is that there is one clear goal that defines success.
Make sure everyone knows that this is the finish line.
Goal ownership, who owns what?
A goal is owned by an individual.
There is no such thing as a team goal, only a team who achieves their goals.
Why? Because every individual is responsible for owning their own goals and accountable to their leaders and team for the delivery of their goals.
There is no confusion.
Every team has a leader, and that leader is to lead their people to success. Every person on that team has a role to play and goal of their own.
Goal responsibility vs goal accountability
There is a difference between goal responsibility and goal accountability.
An individual is responsible for something or someone and accountable to someone.
“I am responsible for people and things and I am accountable to my leaders for their performance delivery.”
“Responsible for…. Accountable to….”
A CEO is accountable to the board for the organisation achieving specific sales outcomes. However, the Sales Leader might be responsible for delivery of the sales outcome on the CEOs goal.
That’s aligned leadership.
The CEO is responsible for ensuring the sales leader hits the target and is accountable to the board and shareholders for the delivery of the outcome.
The Sales Leader is responsible for their team hitting their sales goals and is accountable to the CEO for the sales outcome.
Clear lines of ‘responsibility for’ and ‘accountability to’ create aligned teams who can play to win.
Teams can only win when individuals achieve their aligned goals.
Outcomes, what are they?
An outcome is evidence that the goal has been achieved. It is best understood as a ‘how’ you will you get there.
Outcomes are best as metrics; number #, currency $ or percentage %.
They should be specific, time bound, aggressive but realistic and verifiable through measurement.
Outcomes describe how you are going to get to the goal. You could think of outcomes like steps on a ladder or the evidence that you got there.
On a best practice goal there should be around three to five outcomes. These outcomes will have different due dates and bring context to how the goal is going to be achieved.
The assumption is, if all the outcomes are achieved, then the goal is achieved. But, if you can’t achieve on one of the outcomes, it probably means the goal hasn’t or can’t be achieved.
Here is an example we’ll work with from Burke & Wills Electric Vehicles (BWev.io)
Launch 4WD electric vehicle with 1000 sales in pipeline by June 30, 2022
- Secure pipeline of 1000 10% deposits by June 30 2022
- Deliver a 4WD EV with 1000km range on one charge December 1 2021
- Secure distribution network for after-market kits of 50 retailers by March 31 2022
- Secure EV charge access to Tesla network by March 31 2022
- Achieve production targets of 100 vehicles per month by January 2022
The advantages of a good goal with outcomes
The advantages of using goals with clear outcomes include:
- Clarity and alignment of people and teams
- Transparency throughout an organisation from top to bottom and back again
- Inspire and motivate the team
- Cross-functional collaboration
- Agile and adaptive goal setting
- Top-down, bottom-up, and side to side engagement
But goals & outcomes are not bulletproof.
When priorities and objectives are not clearly communicated, or are conflicted, employees can lose interest and become frustrated.
Implemented well, goals connect the team with the purpose.
They stretch the individuals to strive for achievements that seem almost impossible.
And when everybody is connected with purpose, knows what needs to happen (goal) and how they can make it happen (outcomes), then the impossible can be achieved.
Truly great things happen with that multiplier effect.
Goals are the perfect building block of execution. But they are an output of a strategic planning process.
Ensure you are asking and answering the 7 Questions on Waymaker’s Leadership Curve.
Tasks, what are they and how do the relate to the goal and outcomes?
In Waymaker.io you will also see we also include tasks.
Tasks can be related to a goal, an outcome or yourself (personal).
A task is something you need to do on the journey to achieve the outcome.
These can range from a simple to do list, through to a task with supporting check-lists, due dates and notes.
Milestone goals and cascading goals, what are they?
Not all goals are equal in life and business.
In the example above, ‘Launch 4WD electric vehicle with 1000 sales in pipeline’ there will be goals downstream (and upstream) of this goal that can be treated as stand-alone goals.
These goals will be assigned to other team members.
For example, you might assign the outcome, ‘Secure pipeline of 1,000 sales deposits by June 30, 2022’ to a head of sales.
We call that a cascade and cascading an outcome creates a Goal Stream.
In one click you can cascade an outcome from a team member or leader upstream into a downstream or sidestream goal.
In this example, the head of sales will receive the cascaded outcome as a goal assigned to them and they set their own outcomes on that goal. Their goal, however, is still the outcome of their colleague’s goal.
They can repeat the process with their team.
Cascades can go upstream, downstream or sidestream.
You will see in Waymaker that a goal can be marked as a milestone.
A milestone makes a goal important step in the journey to success.
Typically, milestone goals are the annual goal for an organisation or a 3- or 5-year big hairy audacious goal in the strategic plan.
Use milestones sparingly.
Milestone goals are a pinnacle moment of success for the organisation.
They are your finish lines and they set the tone of the race.
Lots of milestone goals may create an organisation who sprints continuously. Whereas only 1 or two milestone goals over a 3-year period may create a slow and steady ‘marathon’ culture.
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In summary the journey from A to Z is organised in goals, outcomes, and tasks.
Goals are the building blocks of achievement.
The organisation that sets a single-minded goal and defines success will engage all team members to work towards that goal with their own goals.
Start your journey today and create your first goal with a free trial in Waymaker.