“2020 Vision?” Really? I know. It’s overused, a bad dad joke, the puniest of puns, and as cliché as they come. But, now that we got that out of the way:
With last year and last decade behind us, what are you wanting to accomplish next year/decade? Just about everyone wants to eat better, lose weight, or get in shape (or all of the above). Those are good goals, and keep those on the list. But… aren’t there even more important things worth our consideration, effort, and resources?
What if you slowed down enough to stop and carefully consider “what’s most important?” What goals would you set for yourself, your family, team, and organization? What’s worth taking out of your normal routine in order to make room to add something significant?
For some people, setting big goals can be an overwhelming and therefore counter-productive thing – the vision’s too big and they get discouraged, not knowing how to get started, to say nothing of actually getting it done. The solution is kind of like eating an elephant (it’s a figure of speech; no one really wants to do that). The key is breaking down big goals into smaller achievable “mini-goals.”
We started using OKRs at E-g in late 2018. OKR stands for “Objectives (O) and Key Results (KR).” In simple terms, an Objective is a big, inspiring, stretch goal. It’s something that will not get done unless everyone involved is both engaged and aligned. For every Objective agreed on, break it into smaller chunks by identifying Key Results. Each Key Result needs to be measurable, in order to easily tell how you’re tracking and whether or not it’s complete. This means they need to have some kind of metric associated with them, such as “Memorize 100% of Kenny G’s song lyrics” or “Bag 10 US State Highest Peaks.” The 100% and the 10 in those examples are the key. You can measure where you are as time goes by, and you can easily know whether you’ve accomplished it or not.
In simple terms, an Objective is a big, inspiring, stretch goal… Key Results need to be measurable, in order to easily tell how you’re tracking and whether you complete them or not.
A personal example: I recently asked my youngest children what they would like to accomplish by the end of 2020. After identifying some pretty nifty/fun goals , I asked them to think about some of the most important things about life – and what would they like to say they’ve accomplished in those most important areas. We settled into an Objective of “Get to Know God by Reading and Understanding More of the Bible.” Then we settled on a Key Result of “Read the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs twice this year.”
From experience, I know how long it takes to read the entire Bible, and what sacrifices they would have to make to accomplish that worthy goal. And while it’s definitely possible for young people their age to do that, as their parent I also know them well. And I’d like for them to experience the thrill of accomplishing this goal without burning them out on the source material in the process! This is so important to keep in mind, no matter if you’re setting goals for yourself, with your family, or with others in your organization. Stretch yourself/selves; but don’t burn each other out in the process.
But we needed to break down that KR even further in order to put a workable plan in place for their day-to-day and week-to-week. Once we covered that, I knew they would see how achievable the Objective really is and that they would stay inspired – instead of becoming defeated by a mountain before they took the first step. So we did some analysis on how many chapters there are in the Psalms (150), Proverbs (31), and the New Testament (260). Since we wanted to cover those twice this year, we doubled that. Then we broke that down into a weekly and daily reading plan. And now we’re off and climbing that peak together!
In just a few minutes over lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant on the last Sunday of 2019, we went from a big, inspiring objective to a plan that we all recognized as an achievable challenge. It was very rewarding to see the kids realize that an inspiring, significant goal was achievable. Not only are they able to get a truly-worthy box checked off by the end of the year, but more importantly: if they stick to the plan, they will get to know God and His word, they’ll grow, and they won’t get burned out in the process!
What do you consider most important – what’s worth your greatest effort and resources this coming year? What does goal setting look like for you, your family, team, and/or company? How can you break down your inspiring Objectives into Key Results, and then further into workable plans?