Focusing Your Company With Objectives

By Alex Hughes

Founder, Gretel

Objectives, goals, targets - whatever you might call them, they are one of the most effective methods when it comes to focusing your company and team around a common purpose.

When done right, objectives present a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve and show you what that success looks like. With that, you can easier see what your company and teams should be focused on.

In this article, I am going to go through the process of implementing the same framework we use at Gretel. It's based on a common framework called OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Let's jump right in.

High-level view

Look at the diagram below. This diagram shows us each step of the process and how everything is connected. We're going to go through each step and cover what each one entails.

Objectives diagram

Company vision

Where do you want your company to be? You've almost certainly heard and spoken about this before. It's all about the tomorrow and where you want to be. Your company vision isn't some bullshit, pipedream sentence that you spew around. It's a realistic vision for where you want to take your company next. If you don't quite have this in place yet, it's worth taking a step back and figuring out.

For those of you who do have your company vision in place, this is where our whole process begins. While it's not the only driving force behind objectives, it is the main one and, for that reason, what we will focus on today.

Objectives

What do we need to achieve to get us closer to our vision? That's what our objectives do. Each one we successfully complete takes us closer to our company vision. So think about your vision and what needs to happen to get there.

To get the ball rolling, it's good to think about the health of your company. After all, you'll need to be strong to get where you want to go. As a good starting place, look at your financial health - do you need to focus on revenue? Raise funding? If you don't have the money to fund your vision, nothing else is going to matter.

If your financials are in good standing, and you have the people you need at your company, you will be focused on opportunities (offense). That means identifying where you can make the most progress towards your vision. Opportunities can come from anywhere - it could be a new location, a new product, expanding into new markets, adding a new service... the list goes on.

So, whether you're getting your company in order or making your next big move - you'll want to set your objectives and make it clear to yourself and your team what needs to be achieved.

Initiatives

What needs to happen to achieve our objectives? We have our focus, and we know what needs to be achieved. Now it's time to figure out what initiatives we will take to achieve our objectives.

Initiatives often get confused for the actual work that needs to happen (projects and tasks). You don't care about that yet, trust me. What you need to think about are the results you need to see and what needs to change for the objective to be achieved.

As an example, our company has the objective of improving our team's happiness. To achieve this, we will begin a new initiative to understand our team better because we know that understanding our team needs to happen to improve happiness.

At this point, you will have your company vision, the objectives you need to complete to get closer to that vision, and know what needs to happen for you to achieve those objectives.

Projects & Tasks

The work that needs to be done. Now we're down in the mud and focused on the actual work that will be completed. With initiatives, we determined what needs to happen. With projects, we determine how we will make that happen.

To continue with our team happiness objective, We're taking the initiative to understand our team better. We decide to conduct a survey - this is our project - the how we will understand our team.

The final part is our tasks. Our project is broken up into actionable pieces. For our survey, we would need to write some questions, find some software, draft an email, etc.

That leaves us with our vision of where we want our company to be, the objectives we need to achieve to get there, what needs to happen to achieve those objectives, and finally, the work we will do. Leaving us with a clear and focused view of what we as a company are doing.

👀 Quick Promo

Gretel comes with a great objectives app built right in. It's the best way to make sure everyone at your company is moving forward in the same direction

Wrap up

You should now (hopefully) have an initial understanding of objectives and everything they entail. We've only scratched the service and haven't yet gone into topics such as measuring success, prioritisation, using data to inform your decisions, and much more. So check back in the future.

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