Sometimes, writing goals and Objectives is a painful and time-consuming process. How do you decide what are the right goals for you? How do you make sure everyone in your team understands your Objectives and plans accordingly? Luckily, there is quite a bit you can do to make sure your goal setting process is quick and efficient.
Tips and tricks for writing goals and Objectives.
Here are some tips and tricks I have used over the years. If they help you as well as they have helped me, then I have done my job.
Always write down your goals.
First things first: always write down your goals and Objectives. This will help you differentiate between goals and pipe dreams. Humans have about 35 thoughts per minute. If goals aren't put to paper, they are left vague and uncertain. Achieving 10 times more goals means having to write them down.
Make sure your goals are measurable.
You need to make sure your goals are measurable. For instance "making a profit" doesn't really work as a goal. "Make $10 in profits from the sale of a product" is more suitable. However, you probably shouldn't be working with such low numbers unless you're running a lemonade stand or something. For examples of measurable results, make sure to check out OKR examples here.
Set a deadline.
Goals should have a clear deadline. Otherwise, it's too easy to rely on your future self to address them. Overall, it's ill advised to set the deadline too far in future. I have always preferred quarterly goals. They give you enough time to get big things done but allow you to keep your aspirational Objectives in mind.
Keep your focus.
You can not accomplish everything in one quarter. If you try to, you'll just end up spreading yourself too thin and getting nothing done at all. It's better to have fewer goals for your own sanity. In general, 5 goals is better than 7. Aiming for 3-5 really helps you hone in on what's the most important. You may need to make some tough decisions in order to decide what's really important, but choosing your priorities actually helps you to achieve your aspirational goals.
Do not set goals alone.
Goal setting should always be a team effort. It makes sense that if employees are part of the goal-setting process, that they are more invested in your goals. Your team members will have a better understanding of what can realistically be done and which Objectives are maybe a little too aspirational (read: impossible).
Objectives and Key Results.
The best way to follow these tips and tricks is to use a goal setting method that supports it. The answer is Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). OKRs are a popular method for goal setting that focus on your large, aspirational goals, the measurable results used to gauge those goals, and the smaller Plans that guide you week-to-week.
With OKRs, you'll set quarterly aspirational Objectives. Then, you'll track your progress towards them with Key Results. As you complete Key Results, the percentage of your progress towards your Objectives increases.