How to introduce bottom-up goal-setting
Most organizations start with a top-down approach to strategy. It's not that people love micro-management - it's that it takes time for new contributors to get a good understanding of the business.
Mentorship is required in the early months. But as people get more knowledge and experience, it becomes important to empower them to own their future.
Letting your team define their own goals is a quick way to increase engagement and scale execution. But, you'll still need to provide some guidance to make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction.
You're in stage 2 of goal setting:
What we will do:
Going from stage 2 to stage 3 is mainly about sharing the responsibility of defining outcomes with the team. Most of what we'll see in this tutorial is about changing the culture so that people feel comfortable setting their own goals. The rest will be about adopting OKRs as a standard way to structure outcomes.
In this guide:
There are 2 main components to the Objectives and Key Results framework:
You can have multiple level of OKRs: company OKRs, then team or people OKRs underneath. A typical OKRs page will be organized the following way:
You'll find that this structure is quite familiar to what we've seen before with the SMART goals. So let's see how we can change our pages in Tability to fit the OKRs model.
If you have been through the previous guides it will be easy to switch to the Objectives and Key Results framework. In the first tutorial we defined a yearly plan that had focused areas and measures. And in the second tutorial we derived quarterly goals using the top-level outcomes for the year.
We ended up with a top-level page for the company goals.
And a sub-page for the Product team.
We'll begin by changing the content of our yearly plan to turn the goals in Objectives and Key Results.
Our top-level page, Acme 2019 PFM, is already organized in OKRs.
We just have to make it more explicit for the team by editing the titles of sections and goals in the page.
What we did:
(after a few quarters you probably will probably be able to drop the "Objective" and "KR" prefix but this will make it easy for your team to map the concepts)
Now we can move on to our team pages below.
There's a bit more work required on the Product team page. If we look at the section titles we have:
These cannot be good Objectives since the statements are metric-based. Rather than trying to get creative we can simply re-use the top-level Objectives and keep the same goals as Key Results.
Re-using top-level Objectives in lower level OKRs is an easy way to align your teams around the same set of priorities.
If the Sales, Product and Marketing teams can all have different Objectives, it will be hard for you to understand how everything contributes to your company strategy.
But if all your teams share the same Objectives, then it's much simpler to see how their goals aligned. Just look at the Key Results for each team under "Grow customer love" to see how everyone's effort will improve things for your business.
⚠️ While it's possible to link KRs I'd recommend to keep things simple. It's highly likely that KRs will move during the quarter/year and the more links you create, the more expensive it'll be to maintain.
You can keep a direct relationship between Key Results by linking goals together in Tability. Edit the goal in the sub-page to link it to a parent goal.
Once the relationship is created, you will see a new list icon next to the goal title. By clicking on that icon you will be able to see the dependencies between the Key Results.
Now that you know how to use structure your pages into OKRs you can empower your team to set their own goals in the form of Key Results.
Objectives should be the same for everyone. It's fine if there's an objective that a team cannot rally behind, but I would highly suggest to enforce strict Objectives rather than letting some teams create their own.
For instance, the Support team will probably have a hard time finding KRs for "Dominate the Asia-Pacific market", but they can surely have a few Key Results for "Grow customer love".
So when comes the next quarter, create a page and use the sections to add the Objectives.
Create a similar page for each of your teams and let them come up with a series of Key Results that make sense for them. Here's a simple set of rules to help them:
But that's not all! Before asking your team to set goals there are a few things that the leadership team must do:
It will probably take a few rounds of feedback to get the KRs right across your organization. Make sure that your teams dedicate enough time to prepare, and that the leaders of each department meet to double-check dependencies.
Once the Key Results are set you can add them as goals in Tability and start tracking them as seen previously.
Send us your questions and feedback via Twitter at @tabilityio