Introduction: Video Course

Objectives and Key Results

Let’s break objectives down a bit further. Fundamentally, an objective has two parts: You have the objective itself, which is “the work to be done,” and the key result, which is “what that work is measured by.” Another way to think about it is: the objective describes “what you want to achieve” and the key result describes “how you will measure progress.” Together, they define how you will know you have finished an objective.

Now let’s take a look at the first part of the objective. We call this part: “the objective part.” The objective part defines what you want to achieve. The objective part in this example is “to reduce customer support issues by 50%.” And now look at the second part: “the key result part.”

This is the part that defines how you will measure progress on the objective. In this example, the key result part is: “no more than five calls per month on average this quarter.”

It really is that simple. Follow the pattern and you’ll find your expertise comes through in both halves as you put your experience into words.

Theory is good, but let’s put it into practice. Let’s look at some examples of good and poor objectives, and the reasons why they’d be considered good or poor. Consider the following three objectives, “good objectives.”

The first one, “create and distribute a new three-month staff training plan by end of quarter” is good because it provides measurement criteria: action – create and distribute, results – three-month training plan, and time frame – by the end of quarter.

The second objective: “increase our revenue by 1% every month this quarter,” is good because it specifies quantity – revenue, and timeframe – every month this quarter.

The third objective: “develop a two-year roadmap for our new product by the end of this month,” is good because it defines results – the two-year roadmap for a new product, and timeframe – by the end of the month.

Here are some examples of poor objectives that need a bit of finessing before we can declare them “good objectives.” First, the poor objective is “increase employee productivity.” This is poor because there’s no definition of productivity, or any way to measure the increase. To fix it, we would rewrite it as: “increase support cases closed per month by 5% this quarter.”

Another example of a poor objective may be: “attend a presentation skills course.” This objective is poor because it does not specify the relevance of the skills course for the attendee. So, if we wanted to improve this poor objective, we would rewrite it as “increase webinar skills by attending a presentation skills course.”

In our last example we have: “build a high-performing team.” This is poor because there is no defined criteria for “high-performing team,” or any description of why we want to achieve this. If we were to re-work this objective, we could improve it by writing it as: “build a high-performing team that can implement new inventory systems in two weeks.”

Here’s a quick 1 question quiz to let you reflect on what we just discussed. We do this throughout our coursework to help you build your confidence in your learning.