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Simplifying and Prioritizing Key Objectives

Alignment
Goal Setting
Motivation
Prioritization

28 October, 2021

Michael Sobota
Michael Sobota

VP of Engineering at Uplight

Michael Sobota, VP of Engineering at Uplight, states his most recent experience refining the goal-setting process, using key objectives.

Problem

A current problem our company is facing is competing priorities with a lack of robust methods for coordinating on short and long term goals. This has created an environment where it is harder than we think it should be to make substantial progress on the outcomes we desire. Our company often has many large projects going on at once that are competing for attention. As a result, our team starts many projects but has trouble finishing them. We want to reverse this to a place where we start less and finish more.

Actions taken

We began by refining our planning process and goal setting using key objectives and key results to obtain a better focus on our accomplishments. We tested the use of a general quarterly planning process where leadership sets goals annually and each quarter. In this we shared a breakdown of what is most important right now and how our team would accomplish it, and know when we were successful. The new goal-setting process was the main action; it allowed our entire company to be on the same page.

Thinking about objectives and key results simplified our goals from more expansive written goals to easy to digest bullet points. We stated what the aim is and how we would measure our success using the key results.

We made sure the total leadership team met to review the goals we were setting. The intent was to ensure that our goals lined up and led us to a successful outcome. Any department may have valid objectives, but we didn’t want our company to be working in different directions. As hard as our teams operate, it is nearly impossible to achieve the outcomes we desire when all push towards different results. Therefore it was vital for leadership to review and reflect on the overarching outcomes we desired.

Currently, our team is researching deeper training and bringing in experts on the OKR process. We have recognized that our new process isn’t as easily understood and needs training around it. We are working to meet with each individual in our company and give them a level of training to understand why we are making these changes, how they will work, and why we think these changes will benefit us.

Lessons learned

  • We needed a simple process that any member of any team can understand. It should not be technical unless it is comprehensible. This process should determine what is crucial right now so our teams can push towards that result.
  • Not only is it important to motivate people tactically, but also you need to motivate them emotionally. Training should be based on behavioral shifts that address the logical and emotional parts of the brain.

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