Understanding Objectives

Understanding Objectives

Setting proper objectives is typically something that needs to be practiced. It is a skill developed from knowledge and repetitious application.

A lot of business owners, leaders, operators, managers, etc. oftentimes get tasks, objectives, key results (KRs), key performance indicators (KPIs), and goals confused with one-another. Therefore, it is recommended that you understand how each of these function independently, their key differences, and how they all operate together.

Task: a smaller segment of work to be done or under taken (very small amount of time to complete)

Objective: a targeted outcome requiring a series of specific actions and or measurable steps to be completed (medium-long term)

Key Results: a specific measurable action of some metric value needed to be completed in order for the objective to be achieved (usually short-term)

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): a standalone metric used to tell you when a metric is good or bad (N/A)

Goal: a large achievable outcome that is usually fairly broad (long-term)

Objectives are specific to what is ultimately trying to be achieved but broad enough that they do not suggest how they will be achieved. An objective typically requires a series of items to be completed first in order for it to be complete. These 'items' are referred to as key results.

Objectives are always created in the pursuit of a goal.

Here's an example,

Let's say a company wants to become one of the top 2 leaders in their industry across the country. This would be considered a "Goal".

Maybe the company has decided that in order to do this, they should focus on expanding it's influence nationwide. This would be considered an "Objective".

The company will then have to think of ways to expand it's influence. Perhaps an idea they come up with is developing in 3 new locations. This specific action can be referred to as a "Key Result" or a "KR".
Note: More often than not, you will end up making more than one objective and key result. You may also decide to create key results inside of existing key results as well. Do what makes the most sense when structuring your objectives and key results (OKRs).
A myriad of smaller segments of work will need to be completed such as making phone-calls to building inspectors or realtors, scheduling meetings with investors, ordering building supplies and furniture to the new locations, etc. These more straightforward items are referred to as "Tasks".

Finally, a goal of this size would obviously require some major capital. Therefore, the money in which this company is able to raise beforehand may be considered a KPI. Another KPI could also be the amount of time it takes to complete the objective of developing in new locations.

Some objectives will be harder or easier to achieve than others, and that will usually depend on the amount and level of difficulty of it's KRs as well as the goal it's self.

Clear objectives allow teams and departments to have a better understanding of how they're impacting the company. Having clear objectives also gives the company a better understanding of how departments and teams are impacting the overall goal as well.

Bottom line, objectives need to be clear, measurable, medium to long term, easily understood and something that everyone is able to rally behind, follow along!

Our objectives application makes it easier to set, measure, visualize, and achieve any objectives you might think of!
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To learn more about objectives, check out our reference section below!

Reference Section

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