How can aligning and cascading objectives aid your business?

The purpose of performance management is to align the performance of your people with the business goals that you want to achieve. The more effectively we can do this, the more efficiently your organisation will operate; aligning and cascading objectives is one of the ways in which you can enable high performance. However, in our experience, this activity is rarely done effectively (if at all) in the businesses that stand to benefit the most: those with about 50-500 employees. Typically, these businesses are managed operationally by the senior management team. A key way to leveraging more from your existing resource is to make the critical annual step of aligning and cascading key business objectives (and managing performance against these – but that is a topic for another blog!)

The purpose of appraisal is to motivate and focus staff to give of their best. To do this, the process should start with clear objectives that are aligned with those of the business. Appraisals allow you to reflect on progress against these. You want people to have their objectives front and centre for the majority of the year, and paper just doesn’t do that (performance management software does… hint!)

Cascading objectives is a skill that many managers are not familiar with and it does take a little practice but is tremendously powerful.

What is involved in cascading objectives?

This critical performance management topic is so important that we have recorded a short video to support it, however, in a nutshell:

  1. At board level, decide 4- 6 strategic goals for the year. If the ultimate one is a financial goal, go down a level by asking what the main driver of that result could be in each of your business areas e.g. Sales – New business acquisition; Customer Service – Retention rate; Manufacturing – Lean or productivity metrics.
  2. Make them SMART and visible to the management level below. (See our white paper on SMART objectives for more information on how SMART objectives can benefit you)
  3. Ask your staff how their can department help to achieve the SMART goals. Help them to define SMART targets for their area.
  4. Ensure the departmental targets are cascaded, so the remaining levels become individual targets by discussing what staff can do to support this departmental/strategic goal.
  5. Document and manage individual performance against these goals over the course of the year

And that’s all there is to it!

If you think that you haven’t got time to do this, remember that goal setting is proven to increase clarity, productivity and motivation. Can you really afford for 80% of your organisation to be without clear direction? Without clear goals, people will either coast, look elsewhere, or make up their own – and these may not be in the direction that you want them to be.

Take a look at our video which shares some real examples of how to align and cascade effectively and go for it!

Alternatively have a look in our Managers Guides, which you can access in our Resource area, where you will also find out free white paper on how to write SMART objectives.


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