Top Goal Setting Techniques for Businesses

Research has shown time and time again that those who set goals are far more likely to succeed, and more likely to see better overall outcomes, than those who do not set goals. 

Are you setting goals with the members of your team on a regular basis? If not, chances are they’re not performing as well as they could be and, as a result, your company might not be seeing the kind of growth that it’s capable of achieving.

Goal setting can help your employees stay motivated and increase their engagement. The key to seeing great results, though, is making sure you’re using the right goal-setting strategies.

Read on to learn more about the importance of goal setting. You’ll also gain more insight into some of the best goal-setting techniques business owners, managers and supervisors, can use to keep their employee goals on track.

What Are Goal Setting Techniques?

Goal-setting techniques for business are frameworks you can use for developing and achieving company goals. Goal-setting tools help teams get aligned on what’s planned to be achieved, what would be considered a success and, ideally, how to get to the desired outcomes collaboratively.  

Depending on the company culture, team size and business ambitions you can choose the best goal setting tool from the variety of them:

Top Goal Setting Techniques

Clearly, goal setting matters if you want your business to succeed long-term. How do you go about setting and tracking goals with your employees, though? 

Here are some of the most effective goal setting strategies you can start using today:

OKR Goals

OKR is short for Objectives and Key Results. This is an effective goal-setting technique that many large corporations, including Netflix and Amazon, use to engage their employees and align their teams.

The OKR framework works well for setting goals at the company and team levels.

The Objective is a clear and specific mission statement for a particular goal.

The term “Key Results” refers to the benchmarks one will use to monitor their progress toward achieving an Objective. Key Results are very specific and time-bound. They are a way to tell you have achieved your Objective.

Usually, each Objective will have 2-5 Key Results.

OKRs are set quarterly and measured weekly as part of a team's weekly check-in.

okr goal setting

OKRs are a great way to align and focus your company or team. But it can be difficult to get OKRs right the first time. Usually, companies need 2-4 quarters to implement OKRs to start to see the benefits.

If you have experience with OKRs and want to dive right in – try Weekdone our OKR software, we even provide OKR consulting for free with a subscription.

Watch the video below to learn more about Objectives and Key Results.

What Are OKRs? Learn the Basics of Objectives and Key Results Methodology

SMART Goals

Another popular goal-setting strategy you might want to utilize is the idea of SMART goals

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

SMART goal setting

The SMART goals framework is popular because it helps team leaders and employers make sure their employees are really thinking through their goals. It also ensures they’re coming up with a plan for how they’re going to achieve them. 

Using this system requires the goal setter to clarify exactly what they want to accomplish (making the goal specific), figure out how they’re going to measure their progress, and ensure that goal is realistic (or achievable). They must also clarify whether their goal is relevant to their position within the company and set a deadline for when they need to accomplish it (time-bound). 

There are a lot of similarities between SMART goals and OKRs. The main difference, though, is that OKRs can provide additional business-specific context, which isn’t always possible for SMART goals. OKRs are also set quarterly while SMART goals can be set for any type of time period. Employers can use OKRs for company-wide goal-setting, and this system can work better for team goals.

HARD Goals

HARD is another goal-setting acronym. It stands for Heartfelt, Animated, Required, and Difficult.

This type of goal was coined by Mark Murphy, the author of the book “Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your Employees to Give It Their All and They'll Give You Even More.”

The idea behind HARD goals is that employees need to aim to serve something that’s bigger than themselves. These kinds of goals will test the goal setter’s limits and, as a result, drive personal achievement.

HARD goals may be effective if you’re looking to increase engagement and motivation and light a fire under some of your team members. The methodology is not as specific as OKRs or SMART goals, though, and might not be detailed or structured enough for some employees. 

Stretch Goals

Stretch goals are high-effort and high-risk goals that encourage teams to think out of the box and push their limits. Stretch goals are aspirational and set for the teams to achieve the business targets they thought were impossible to achieve.

Such business goals are good when your team experiences a lack of motivation or disengagement from each other. Setting stretch goals helps you to define ambitious goals, encourage autonomy and increase the business’s chances of success.

There’s no strict way how to set stretch goals, but you can consider goal-setting tools like OKRs or SMART to set these types of goals. Just keep in mind that your stretch goals should be ambitious, radical and innovative.

Long-term Business Goals

Long-term business goals are results that you want to achieve in one, three, five years or more into the future. Any successful business has clear and defined long-term business goals that set the direction of the company. Sometimes, long-term company goals are also based on the company's mission, vision, and strategy.

Setting business goals that are clear and well-communicated allows all team members to be on the same page about how you want the company to operate and reach the business target in the most effective way.

A long-term business goal requires and consists of many smaller, short-term goals.

Short-term Business Goals

Short-term goals are expected to be achieved within a few months to a few-year time frame while long-term goals may take anywhere from three to five years (or even longer).

Short-term goals can help you work towards your long-term business goal or they can be goals you’ve set for isolated milestones in your business cycle. They should be easily achievable, and easily measurable so that you can evaluate your progress toward your long-term goals.

OGSM – Objectives, Goals, Strategies & Measures

OGSM stands for Objective, Goals, Strategies, and Measures. OGSM is a long-term business planning tool. It helps companies teams, and individuals define their vision for several years and link this vision to specific short- and medium-term goals.

The four components of the OGSM model ensure that concrete and measurable goals are set to achieve from the implementation of its strategy. It is clear and concise for effective tracking of goals and progress.

Why Goal Setting Is Important for Businesses

There are plenty of advantages that come with setting goals. The following are some of the most noteworthy benefits employers and managers ought to keep in mind:

Increased Focus

When employees know, specifically, what they need to be working toward, it’s easier for them to remain focused. Approximately 70 percent of employees are not engaged, and having clear goals can help you to address this issue within your workplace.

Increased Motivation

If your employees have a goal that they’re working to achieve, they’ll likely feel more motivated on a regular basis, too. This is especially true if that goal has a clear deadline attached to it. 

More Teamwork

Goal setting isn’t just for individual employees. You can also use goal-setting to foster collaboration and encourage employees to work together as a team. Remember, companies that promote collaboration are five times more likely to be high-performing than those that do not.

What Is The Best Goal Setting Technique For My Business?

As you can see, there are lots of effective goal-setting techniques you can use to keep your team members motivated and make sure they’re progressing. 

If you’re not sure where to start or which approach to try first, consider using OKRs during your next planning or goal-setting meeting.

okr goals in weekdone

OKRs are great for helping employees and teams to set realistic goals and come up with ways to measure their progress toward achieving them.

Not confident in your ability to use OKRs when setting goals with your team? Weekdone goal-setting solution can help you with your goal setting in teams. It’s an effective goal management software that helps you streamline the goal-setting process, connect with your team, and generate comprehensive reports to stay on top of your OKR progress. 


Sign up today for a free trial of Weekdone to see what it’s all about and decide if it’s a good fit for your team.