Set Departmental & Team Objectives, Not Just Individual
May 14, 2019

Set departmental & team objectives, not just individual

OKR goals must be set in a way that works for your organization. They are not intended to be overly complex or forced. Instead, using OKRs is simply a goal-setting methodology to create clarity and alignment by connecting your teams to top company objectives. Each organization has specific needs and will, therefore, have its own unique and effective means of implementing OKRs.

Nonetheless, OKRs do require a few basic principles to be in place to work effectively. Because they are intended to achieve company-wide alignment, setting goals only at the individual level will not support the achievement of top-level objectives. For this reason, many executives find setting organizational objectives first is the best approach for using OKRs. This helps to ensure alignment at every level of the company.

Setting team and department-level objectives. 

When setting objectives at the team or departmental level, remember that not every top company OKR needs to be reflected in each objective. Yet, team and department OKRs should somehow contribute to top company objectives in one way or another. To begin setting departmental OKRs, have team leaders meet to agree upon objectives. Be mindful of the top company priorities, and ask:

  • Are the team or departmental objectives somehow connected with our top company goals?

  • Do the team or departmental OKRs make it more likely that the company will achieve its overarching goals?

  • Are there more than 3-5 objectives listed here?

OKRs are not intended to form a checklist and should therefore not simply spell out everything teams will work on throughout the quarter. Approaching OKRs as a to-do list will force teams to focus on tasks instead of what the company wants to achieve. Instead, use objectives to inform the outcome that the team wants to achieve. The teams themselves can then determine the best means of accomplishing the objectives.

Examples of team and departmental objectives.

We have many OKR examples available for you to use as guidance. Here are just a few team or departmental objectives for reference:

  • Marketing: Launch the new monthly newsletter successfully

  • Sales: Grow our sales in the Central region

  • HR: Improve employee retention

  • Engineering: Build a world-class engineering team

  • Operations: Improve our IT and infrastructure

Keep in mind that, as with all OKRs, the objectives shared here should be accompanied by key results that follow SMART goal setting criteria.

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