You Only Need 3 Objectives for 2021 (Part II)

Last week I wrote that you only need to identify, and plan around, 3 top-level Objectives in order to nail 2021.

  1. Growth - how much you want to grow
  2. Mission/vision/impact - what your impact will be
  3. An organizational objective - how you will evolve your org to achieve 1 & 2

Pretty much everything you’ll need to plan out for next year will fall into those three objectives.

Last week, I talked about the Growth objective. This week, I’ll tackle the Mission/Vision/Impact and Organizational Objectives.

The trick is how you define your objectives and then understanding how you will know if you are meeting those objectives (or not!).

As a reminder, this year I’ve been blending two systems for planning these out.

I like the way the OKR (Objectives & Key Results) prescribe creating aspirational objectives and then identifying measurable results that let you know whether or not you’ve met them.

I also like the way Traction’s EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) uses the idea of ‘rocks’ to help maintain focus on the things that will most move the company forward and set specific accountability.

I call my blended system OKRocks.

I like to separate out the Growth and Mission/Vision/Impact Objectives because I think it’s important to call out the actual impact you want your organization to have beyond growing revenue.  

Some examples of Mission/Vision/Impact oriented objectives I’ve worked on recently are:

“Become part of the cultural conversation.”
“Become the obvious choice for cross functional teams.”
“Become the human understanding gurus.”

These are broad aspirational objectives, so they need to be anchored with Key Rocks that will tell us if we are achieving them. This is where the conversation gets really interesting as the team sorts through how to measure things.

For becoming part of the cultural conversation, you could outline PR mentions, influencer and affiliates, or earned media metrics. Then assign your Rocks and who’s responsible for them.

For becoming the obvious choice of cross functional teams, that will require a combination of teams to understand customer needs, craft a killer product, and get the message out.

That’s the beauty of the planning process though. When done well, it aligns everyone on key goals and how they contribute to achieving them.

Finally, let’s talk about the Organizational Objective. While Growth and Mission/Vision/Impact get all the headlines, it’s actually the Organizational Objective where the real action is.

That’s because your ability to execute your vision and grow is limited by how well your organization can scale itself.  

Some Organizational Objectives I’ve seen recently:

“Become an execution & performance machine.”
“Enable our high performance ensemble to lead with impact.”
“Become a world class organization.”

Some key Key Rocks for these Objectives might be:

“Create a stellar onboarding process in Q1.”
“Design training to ramp new sales people in 30 days.”
“Spend 20% less time on admin tasks.”
“Hit 85%+ of all milestones.”

Again, it will be important for the leadership team to align and understand how each of them contributes to achieving the Objectives and Key Rocks.

Get this process right, and everyone in your org will be aligned and focused on where to put their efforts - and you’ll be queued up for an awesome 2021.

Until next time,


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Steve August
March 4, 2022