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What are "cascaded goals"?

See how cascaded goals help align a company around its more important priorities.

What are "cascaded goals"?

Cascaded goals are goals that translate across each level of an organization to achieve strategic alignment.

Every team and team member has a goal that they can directly affect, and all these goals in turn help achieve larger company goals.

From the individual level, to the team, to the executive, each goal reinforces the next.

Cascaded goals example

For example, imagine a company's main goal this year is to increase profits. Many people across an organization can assist in this goal, by making the company more efficient, selling more, or doing more with less.

So cascaded goals take into account what each team or person can do to help each this goal, including goals for managers. An example might look like this:

  • Overall goal: Increase profits by 10% this year
  • <ul-i1>Sales team goal: Increase bookings by 15%<ul-i1>
  • <ul-i2>Sales team member goal: Close $500,000 in new business<ul-i2>
  • <ul-i1>Operations team goal: Reduce supply chain costs by 1%<ul-i1>
  • <ul-i2>Operations team member goal: Renegotiate 5 contracts at a better rate<ul-i2>
  • <ul-i1>Manufacturing team goal: Increase production by 20%<ul-i1>
  • <ul-i2>Manufacturing team member goal: Produce 5 additional each a day<ul-i2>
"Nothing moves us forward like a deadline"
John Doerr, from Measure What Matters

Why are cascaded goals used

Cascaded goals are a great way to achieve strategic alignment in an organization. This works regardless of whether you use OKRs, SMART Goals, or some other way of tracking your KPIs. In all circumstances, cascaded goals help communicate to each employee how they fit into the overall success plan.

As a management exercise, they also force leaders to clearly articulate how each team member is contributing to the company's most important priorities. This often exposes areas that are under-resourced or not engaged in the correct activities. By cascading goals down the organization, you achieve clarity throughout, which can assist not only with achieving these goals, but also with providing the foundation, vision, and clarity that employees need to succeed.

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