Translating company goals into daily tasks is necessary when building a strong culture where employees understand the value of their work and the entire organization is tracking towards the same outcomes. This is especially important when it comes to scaling: you need leadership, managers, and individual contributors working in the same direction in order to grow efficiently.
Creating a company-wide framework to facilitate this may appear difficult and time consuming for the executive leadership team, but the benefits of intentional goal setting far outweigh the stress and dysfunction of a company that lacks clear direction, says Kerry Nagle, COO at Denver, CO based cybersecurity firm CyberGRX.
And although this sounds like a purely operational concern, Kerry says it takes the successful marriage of company culture and operations to make this work. Here’s how she builds a framework to align all employees by taking big picture goals and translating them into daily tasks.
Throughout her career, Kerry has worked across several industries and realized early, no matter the product or service, an organization is nothing without its people. In her eyes this means building a strong culture that leads to operational success. Kerry has spent her career developing and implementing methods for streamlining operations and building cohesion among executive teams.
One of the easiest ways to visualize this process is to imagine your team is a rowing crew, Kerry says. First, you have to make sure everyone is in the same boat—this may seem obvious, but when executives are not aligned on the mission and vision this will lead to inefficiencies and an inability to set and keep organizational goals. Next, all team members need to be rowing in the same direction towards buoys along the way to the checkered flag at the end of the race. This means employees working towards the same goals and the same eventual endpoint. Lastly, your crew needs to keep the same pace. Kerry stresses that you can always reevaluate where your buoys are set, but without clear expectations your team will be inefficient.
Once your executive team has a clear idea of the organization’s vision, it’s time to implement a company wide tool that takes high level organizational goals and breaks them down into accomplishable tasks at the team and individual level.
The first step in creating your framework is to keep it simple and establish your agreed upon nomenclature. If your team has “goals” and “objectives”, don’t throw in new terms that may cause confusion when setting expectations for the year/quarter. As often as possible, keeping language simple and ubiquitous makes it easier for employees to understand and lean in.
Next, make sure the framework is the right size for your company. Kerry says while there are countless professional frameworks available, what is necessary for a 200+ person organization will be far too complex and overwrought for a startup with 10 employees. The person on your team who owns the framework needs to understand what is essential versus what may become overprocessed.
Lastly, it’s the responsibility of the executive team to communicate the company vision across the organization. Creating your framework may mean a lot of upfront work for company leaders, but will lead to reduced inefficiency and show employees how their work contributes to the bigger picture. Essentially executives need to be able to answer the ever present question “why are we doing this.”
According to Kerry, it’s easiest to think about building your framework from the top down, breaking it into three levels: company, team, and individual.
This kind of framework may seem daunting at first, Kerry says. But it is a surefire way to band together at each level of a company and create a focused organization that is working together. A framework like this will force tradeoff decisions among executive leaders and will establish organization-wide priorities that are crucial to building strong cultural buy-in and operational success.