October 3, 2013
Without a goal, a company has no direction. Goals are the map that keeps everyone on course, and startups and corporations alike have figured that out.
But according to the data, many company maps are gathering dust, discarded and useless. As Kapta CEO Alex Raymond explains, 50 percent of employee time is spent on work that isn’t aligned with company strategy.
He created Kapta along with Ben Blasko and Chris Wells to increase that stress-inducing statistic. Kapta’s software lets CEOs communicate company goals, track each employee’s contribution to those goals, and see everyone’s status.
Below, Raymond explains why employee alignment with company goals is so rare, and what to do about it.
Tech Cocktail: Why aren’t most companies “aligned”?
Alex Raymond: Most companies aren't aligned because executives and managers don't spend the time necessary to communicate the company's mission, vision, and goals to all employees. A lot of CEOs think that if they present a strategic plan once a year in an all-company meeting, that's enough. The fact is that you need to be constantly communicating your plans and objectives so that everyone understands 1) what are the most important goals and 2) how do I fit in?
Tech Cocktail: Give an example of a personal goal that an employee might choose in order to contribute to a company goal.
Raymond: The process of linking personal goals to company goals is usually pretty straightforward. So, for example, if the company objective is to increase revenue by 25 percent this quarter, then my personal objective might be to create a new ebook that generates 1,000 new leads for the company. Basically, you want all the work in the company to be part of the overall strategic vision.
Tech Cocktail: Besides using Kapta, how else can companies create alignment in terms of goals?
Raymond: Alignment isn't just about software – it's about communicating and making sure that employees understand how they contribute to the company's success. One of the things that we do when we work with clients is get an understanding of their culture and communication style – the more open, the better. There are lots of managers out there who aren't very good at managing their teams – meaning that they don't spend as much time talking about strategic alignment and personal performance. Our tool really provides a framework for managers to start having those conversations.
Tech Cocktail: What are some tips for setting the right companywide goals?
Raymond: CEOs frequently ask me how to set good company goals. I have a four-part framework for a good company goal:
- Clear: There should be no business jargon or crazy acronyms in the goal. Plain English that anyone can understand is best.
- Ambitious: The goal should be bold and exciting, something for people to rally around. Not impossible to reach, but still aggressive.
- Inclusive: Everyone in the company needs to understand how they contribute to each goal. Otherwise, employees can lose motivation and clarity.
- Defined: Goals need to have specific metrics and deadlines to be effective. Don't be too detailed, but at least make sure you know what success looks like.
Kapta was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Denver mixer in September.
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