Defining, aligning, and writing objectives can be daunting. Often, company objectives (sometimes referred to as goals) are general; e.g. “gain more customers.” While they inform team objectives and desired results, people often struggle with exactly what information to include.
Clear objectives are specific. They include a set time frame, they're measurable, and they have a direct impact on your organization.
A lot of organizations use the SMART criteria and goal setting method to define and measure objectives. Many of us here at Range use it, and we thought it would be helpful to share the method and provide clear examples to help you overcome vagueness in your company communication.
“An objective is what we want to do” is how a former colleague simply put it. And that definition often matches company-level objectives. But supporting objectives need to be defined in more detail.
So it's often helpful to think of objectives in two categories:
In other words, a company-level objective describes where your company wants to be in the future, but unlike team objectives, it doesn’t explain how you plan to get there.
The right company level objectives (or, goals) will align with your company vision, purpose, and long-term aspirations. For example, you might use company objectives in your yearly and quarterly company strategy, your positioning, mission statement, company culture guide, financial projections, and other crucial business documents and initiatives. Here are a few more specific examples of objectives that leaders might set at the company level:
While these are worthy objectives, there are no specific time frames or actions that guide you on how to reach your destination. What defines an “inclusive company culture?” What are the particular tasks you need to complete? How would you know you've reached the goal?
This is where team objectives come in. In order for company-level goals to become actionable and achievable, they need to be broken down into team objectives and key results.
Here's an example of how you can break down a company-level objective into measurable team objectives:
With Range, you can easily set objectives and make daily progress visible without micromanaging your team.
Objective has the word “object” in it. Objects are concrete. Because of this, objectives can be scoped with time frames, budgets, and tangible results. The SMART approach to developing objectives is a useful framework to help you make sure you've defined them in the right way.
The SMART acronym stands for:
We set company- and team-level objectives by quarter, review them in weekly meetings, and log work with quick daily check-ins, so everyone has insight into how projects are progressing. Range works with tools like Slack, Asana, Trello, GitHub, and more, so it's easy to connect our tasks, documents, and code changes to our objectives.
Combined with the SMART approach, this level of transparency and collaboration helps us (and other teams who use Range) crystallize not only what matters, but also the daily steps we need to take to get closer to our desired destination.