Aligning team goals to company goals

Setting goals gives you the opportunity to empower your teams to set transformational goals that they’ll feel connected to, all while providing a clear north star for them to follow as they choose what to work on. But once your team has created their goals, how do you pin down the alignment of those goals?

Step 0: Ensure your team understands your alignment expectations

Before we go looking for opportunities to link goals, we need to know that we have a probability of finding those links. In other words, before we even have teams start creating goals, we need to make sure they understand the expectations we have for connecting the goals they write to top-level company goals.

We recommend explicitly asking your team to have at least one of their objectives aligned with one top-level goal. In other words, teams use the company level goals as a roadmap, and choose one goal they can support with a goal of their own. If you have a revenue-focused objective, your sales team will likely align one of their objectives to that goal. If you have a growth focused objective at the company level, your account managers will ideally have one of their objectives be growth focused.

The rest of their goals are up to them; their other objectives can focus on process improvements or other areas where they think there’s an opportunity to make a significant change to their KPIs or other metrics. But ensure that they understand what your expectations are for that first, linkable objective.

Step 1: Ask your team to flag their linked goal

Since the teams are writing their own goals and ensuring that they’ve written at least one objective that is linked to a company goal, they should then let you know which one that is. No need to have guess work and pour over every goal hoping to find the right one when simply asking can give us the answer we need. In Tability, they can do this in two ways, depending on how much you’d like to review.

To link a goal, you team will click on their outcomes and navigate to the relationship section:

When linking up to a company goal, your team will choose a Parent for their goal:

From there, they can choose the plan and outcome that they intended to link their goal to.

Only outcomes can be linked, and they can only be linked to other outcomes. Encourage your team to choose the closest outcome to link each of their outcomes to. You can link an outcome to multiple outcomes if needed.

Option 2: Have them tag the goals

If your team needs assistance in choosing the right outcomes to link to or if you’d prefer to monitor the choices they make before they officially link their goals, you can have them tag their goals based on the top-level objective they’re supporting. This gives you a sense of which goals they want to link, but allows you the ability to ensure they’re the correct goals. To do this, you’ll want to create tags for your team based on the company objectives. To create a tag, click on an objective:

Scroll to the bottom of the popup and type the name of the tag you’d like to create. Do this on your top-level goals to start:

Once you’ve created your tags, let your team know. They’ll go through the same process, but instead of creating new tags, they’ll pick them from the drop down menu.

Once your teams have tagged their goals, you can find them in the Filters section by going to Objectives and filtering by the relevant tag:

From here, you’ll get a list of the goals that have been tagged and can link the outcomes as you see fit:

Click the objective, then go through the outcome list and link as described above.

Step 2: Determind cross-functional relationships

Once you’ve linked your team-level goals to your top-level goals, your teams should look for opportunities to collaborate. This is a less critical link to show, but is still important to ensure that you’re highlighting work that’s being pushed forward by more than one team or department. This should typically be a process driven by teams, since they’ll have more context on how their work relates to other teams than any one person in the organization will have.

In order to do this effectively, teams will need to make sure to all have their goals published at the same time. A strict due date is important. That said, when looking for linking opportunities, teams may find they are working on the same goals and can combine efforts or are working on vastly different goals and may want to review their goals to be more in line with what others are working on. So while a strict due date is important for this first draft of goals, there should be an expectation that they don’t need to be perfect or final versions. Even metrics may change based on other teams’ goals (if Product is only designing 1 major new feature, Engineering may increase how much of a backlog they’re looking to decrease. Conversely, if Product is looking to roll out several significant features, Engineering may scale down or eliminate that goal altogether).

Have teams read through each other’s goals and determine where there is overlap. Encourage them to discuss with each other about their efforts. This can be a live conversation with all of the KR owners or just a manager/Head of from each department representing the teams. As relationships start to unfold (Goal X and Goal Y have overlap in their efforts or in their subject matter), have your teams link their goals as Related goals. Related goals are similar or overlapping goals that don’t have a dependent relationship (one’s success isn’t critical for the other’s).

Step 3: Make updates to goals and start tracking progress

After your teams have collaborated and communicated, there might be changes to make to their goals. Encourage them to finalize those changes and then get to tracking their progress!

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