Making 2024 Count. Six Tips To Help Organisations Achieve Their Objectives.

We all want 2024 to be a great year: here are some best practice tips to ensure it is for your organisation.

Organisational success requires a strategic approach that aligns every level of the organisation toward common goals. One crucial aspect of this strategic alignment is the establishment of clear and compelling objectives or OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). When well-crafted objectives flow seamlessly through the organisation, from top-level leadership to operational teams, they drive greatness. Here is a checklist of best practices to ensure success.

1. Link Objectives to Something Exciting.

It has been said that organisations underestimate what they can do in three years and overestimate what they can do in one, so any engaging in-year objectives should be connected to an exciting and ambitious medium-term strategic plan.  If you do not have one of these, stop here and develop one.

2. Don’t Overload Anyone.

Most people have busy roles, and delivering their BAU tasks will take at least 80% of their time.  Research shows that if someone has five to seven objectives to deliver over and above BAU, they will achieve none of them; if they have three to five, they may achieve two, but if they have one to three, they will nail them all.  So, decide what you need your team to deliver, manage resources and make the difficult trade-offs at the start of the year.  As a leader, this is your task; don’t just pass the pressure down the line.

3. Utilise the 1/3rd and 2/3rd Rule to Empower Every Level.

Too often, leadership teams take heaps of time to craft perfect objectives, leaving no time for proper flow down before objectives are locked in.  This pretty much guarantees a lack of alignment and poor buy-in.

To facilitate effective cascading of objectives, implement the 1/3rd and 2/3rd rule. This rule allocates 1/3rd of the time available for your level of the organisation to define and lock in their objectives. The remaining 2/3rds should be dedicated to the downstream elements of the organisation. This approach ensures that leadership sets the direction while allowing subordinate levels the time to determine how they contribute to the overall objectives.

4. Involve the Team to Build Understanding and Buy-in.

Before objectives can be locked in effectively, each level must thoroughly analyse its role in achieving organisational goals. This reflective process should involve the right team members, ensuring a holistic perspective. This collaborative approach promotes a shared understanding, encourages buy-in, and ensures that all the team’s talent is engaged in this vital step, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability at every level.

5. Confirm Alignment to Ensure Leaders and Teams in Sync.

To avoid misalignment and ensure that every level is working towards the same overarching objectives, leaders should confirm that the approach taken by each level aligns with the organisation’s strategic vision. Regular check-ins and communication channels help leaders stay informed about progress and adjust as needed.

6. SMART Objectives: Ensuring Measurability and Accountability.

We all know this, but so often play lip service to it…… The final step in crafting practical objectives is to ensure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Measurable outcomes provide a clear benchmark for success, while the other SMART criteria help create realistic and focused objectives. This methodology allows organisations to track progress, celebrate achievements, and hold teams accountable for their contributions.

In summary, setting good objectives that cascade through the organisation is essential for achieving greatness. By acknowledging the limitations of time, empowering every level through the 1/3rd and 2/3rd rule, involving stakeholders, confirming alignment, and adhering to SMART principles, organisations can unlock the full potential of their teams. The result is a cohesive and motivated workforce driving toward common strategic outcomes. Simple!

Good luck for 2024!