When you set goals for your team, you naturally want them to remember those goals going forward and keep them at the forefront of their mind. Shouldn’t you, then, focus on making the goal-setting process memorable in itself?
Enter, the acronym – the oldest trick in the book when it comes to mnemonic devices. Acronyms in the business goal-setting world not only help folks remember the steps to their goals, but help people leaders create them in the first place.
We’ve talked about a couple goal-setting acronyms in the past, but there are a whole ton more out there that different teams use to find success. Some such acronyms have been used by enormous corporations like Google for decades, while some are a little more… niche. Let’s take a look at seven –
We’re starting with the HelloTeam favorite, Objectives-Key Results. The OKR Method is a goal setting framework engineered by former CEO of Intel Andy Grove that can not only clarify the mission statement of your business, but can in and of itself help your team reach it. Incredibly successful corporations like Walmart, Microsoft and Netflix owe some of their prosperity – and their employee retention numbers – to their dedication to OKRs.
On the surface, the OKR method is straightforward. You come up with an overall company Objective, which is the target that you want your company to reach within a particular (quarter to year) period of time. You then name three to five shorter term Key Results, which are plans that, in their completion, serve to attain the Objective.
From the company OKRs, teams and individuals can create their own OKRs so all goals – and consequently, all work – is aligned with the overall company mission.
The WOOP method is one of the more fun-sounding acronyms out there, and it goes as follows…
Wish – Wish for a goal/outcome that excites you; if it excites you, it’s worth aiming for.
Outcome – Picture the outcome and the specifics of what you want to achieve. The more specific the outcome, the better you’ll be able to plan the steps to get there.
Obstacle – Determine what obstacles may stand in the way, and prepare to remove them or work around them.
Plan – Put a plan in place and connect the dots from here to your Outcome.
The WOOP method is less specific than some of the other goal-setting methods we’ll look at, but that does mean it can encompass a broader range of ambitions.
SMART goals, developed by Robert S. Rubin, are part of a method that rivals OKRs in popularity. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, denoting the type of goals you should be striving to set. When actually writing out the goal, fill out this mini-template:
Action Verb -> Results in Measurable Terms -> By When
Example: Lead two ad campaigns that help land & retain 100 clients by 2023
You can combine SMART goals with some of the other methods on this list, as it mainly concerns finding the best objective to strive for, rather than the steps to take to reach it.
HARD goals are the most personal type of goals on this list, and can help employees and managers grow into better versions of themselves.
Heartfelt – Your objective should have an intrinsic personal value to you. A goal from the HARD method is more often about learning a new skill or reaching a milestone than completing some sort of work project.
Animated – It’s a bit abstract, but this suggests you should mentally animate what the process of completing this goal will be and where it will leave you after you’ve finished it.
Required – Determine the steps and processes you are required to take on the path to reaching your destination.
Difficult – You see it right in the name; your goal and journey should be tough, teaching you and challenging you along the way.
Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals come from a book entitled Built to Last – Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, so you know it’s founded in success. The basic concept of a BHAG goal is an enormous, difficult to reach objective that just might be crazy enough to work. Think, “Shoot for the moon, and you’ll at least land among the stars.”
In a business sense, these are often used for company-wide goals such as, “Triple our profit margin from last year,” or, “Acquire a smaller competitor”. Even if they’re unrealistic, they get people moving in the hopes of helping achieve something big.
Big, Small, and Quick. First, you think of a big goal, which will be your end objective. The “Small” stands for the small steps you have to take to get there, hitting tiny milestones along the way. Quick refers to the timeline you set for yourself or your team to reach that Big goal. There you have it, a goal and process wrapped in a simple package.
We’ll finish off with the most concrete and straightforward method, Objectives, Goals, Strategies and Measures. It’s exactly what it sounds like –
Objective – what you want to achieve overall
Goal(s) – the smaller hurdles to cross before you get there
Strategies – the way you’ll jump those hurdles
Measures – the metrics by which you’ll gauge your success
The only wrinkle in this one is how easy it is to confuse it with OKRs, as they have contradicting definitions for Objective and Goal. When in doubt, OKR it – that’s what HelloTeam always says.