Allow us to put you on the spot for just a second. What would you say your company goals are? Are they big and specific enough? Are they related to you and your team’s day-to-day?
Famed salesman and motivational speaker, Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar had once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Regardless of how efficient or successful your company might seem, without a vision or objectives oriented to what you want to ultimately achieve, you will find your organization wandering aimlessly and struggling to grow. Everyday tasks become nothing but items to check off your to-do list.
As always, Asana has a feature for this specific problem. The “Goals” feature was introduced as a tracking tool that helps teams and companies set and measure objectives effectively and tie them to active projects. The way this tool is set up helps you define your vision and break it down into goals and subgoals that you can automatically and manually update.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to identify your organizational goals using the Pyramid of Clarity, set up and update goals and subgoals on Asana with defined metrics, and how to tie these goals to existing projects.
A quick note; the following features described are only available to Asana’s Business Plan users, with a few of them accessible to Premium users.
Pyramid of Clarity
To better understand how Asana’s “Goals” work, let us first explore the concept of the Pyramid of Clarity.
In simple terms, the Pyramid of Clarity is a structure utilized by businesses and organizations to break down large, long-term aspirations into short-term and attainable goals.
The key components of this hierarchy are the company’s mission, strategies, objectives, and key results, with the mission being your company’s overarching goal. If you’re selling shoes, for example, then your mission statement can be, “To sell the best shoes nationwide.” This statement is broad and cannot be measured in certain metrics, but it fits the purpose of describing what your company is trying to do in a few words.
While the mission describes “what” you do, strategies tell us “how” you’ll go about doing it. If you’re trying to sell the best shoes nationwide, a strategy you might consider could be “Opening stores in major Canadian cities”.
Further down the pyramid are your company objectives. Those are your tactical goals or actionable items that push you towards achieving your mission. For example, to open stores nationwide, you’ll need to “acquire business loans” and “purchase land in major cities”.
Finally, key results are metrics you set against your objectives to determine how successful you are in achieving your strategies. Key results should be specific and clearly defined, preferably with a numerical value for easy tracking. “Land purchase in Vancouver done by April 1st” is a key result tied to one of your objectives discussed earlier.
With a clear understanding of these values, you are now ready to document your company goals on Asana.
Setting Company Goals on Asana
To start, navigate to the “Goals” feature located on the left-side menu in Asana. If you’re subscribed to Asana's business plan, you’ll have the option to set both Company Goals and Team Goals. For the purposes of this post, let’s focus on Company Goals.
The page’s structure is fairly simple and straightforward. Begin with filling in your company’s overarching goal in the space labelled “Mission”. Remember, keep it simple and don’t hesitate to go big. Below that comes “Company Goal''. Think of this as a space to fill in your company objectives, or the more tactical targets that you want to achieve to reach your mission. When you click the plus sign, a more detailed page will pop up. Type in your objective in the “Name” field, then select the name of your organization in the field labelled “Company or Team''. Under “Owner”, select a member that should be responsible and accountable for seeing this goal through. If your goal is financial, you might want to put your CFO as the owner. Skip the “Parent Goal” field since your objective is not a subgoal but a mission-oriented company goal.
Next, you’ll determine when you want this goal to be realized. The “Time Period” field gives you the option to specify the year, half, and quarter you aim to complete your goal by. Adding “Collaborators” to your goal will allow key managers and stakeholders to track the goal and even contribute to it. At the bottom of the page, you have the option to make your goal “Public” for everyone within your organization to see, or “Private”, viewable only to the collaborators you have listed earlier. As a final step, click “Save Goal.” Repeat those steps to document all your company’s major objectives.
Adding Metrics and Subgoals
Now that you have your main goals set, it’s time to determine how you want to track them. Click into one of the goals you’ve set to open its detail page. Here, you can set your progress metric, add a detailed description of your goal, update it and even add subgoals and projects tied to it.
When you click the blue “Set Progress Metric” button, a pop-up box will appear which will allow you to select how you want to measure the success of this goal. In the “Format” drop-down menu, you can choose your measuring unit either as a percentage, a number or a monetary value (currency). If your goal is to open new shoe stores in a specific city, select the number option and enter the number of stores you hope to open under “Target”. If you already have a few stores open, you can enter that number under “Current”. Once you’ve done that, you’d want to set a reminder to periodically check on the progress of this goal. This is essential to ensure your company is on track to achieving this goal and deal with any blockers that might impede your progress. To do that, simply press on the toggle switch at the bottom of the pop-up box and choose the frequency of these reminders. These will automatically be added to your tasks list every week, month or quarter for you to check and update.
After setting your metrics, type in all the information related to the goal in the field marked “Description” below. This is meant to add context to your goal for your team to understand and to buy into. Another thing you can do in this section is to break down your goals into further subgoals. Similar to the goal-setting process we covered above, you’re able to add a title for the subgoal, an owner and collaborators as well as a time period. In addition to that, your sub goals will be automatically linked to a “Parent Goal” or the company goal you have set earlier.
You can also go deeper and add subgoals to your subgoals which you can assign to different teams or departments within your organization. There is no limit to what you can do with this tool!
Updating Your Asana Goals
It’s important to remember that documenting your goals is not enough unless you track and update their progress regularly. That’s when the automated reminders come in handy.
Asana allows you to easily and manually update your goals, and then will automatically notify any collaborators or team members following this particular goal. First, click on your goal and hit the blue “Update” button on the upper right-hand corner. Add a title to your update, one that will easily communicate the progress of this goal to your team. After that, set the status of your goal to either “On track”, “At risk”, “Off track” or “Achieved”. Add the progress update based on the metric you’ve selected, whether you’re 15% into a goal or have finished 3 out of the 5 stored you’ve set out to build. If needed, you can change the time period or switch goal owners. You are also able to attach files such as photos or status reports for the team to access.
The fields in the section below provide you with prompts that further explain the update such as a summary, what was accomplished, what are blockers to achieving the goal and next steps. This section is modifiable in which you can add, delete or move fields as you see fit. When you’re done, click on the “Post” button on the top-right of the page.
Now the progress to your goal is viewable on the main “Goals” page for everyone (with access) to see.
Linking Goals to Projects
What makes the “Goals” feature on Asana truly remarkable is the ability to link your goals to relevant projects and portfolios. This means that any tasks completed in a project linked to your goal will automatically update its progress.
To link goals to projects, simply click on a goal and click on “Supporting work” located on the bottom-left corner of the page. From the drop-down menu, select the projects or portfolios that include actionable tasks related to the goal. Now, any work checked off by you or your team will directly contribute to the status of your goal. Pretty neat, right?
Company Goals vs Team Goals
As mentioned earlier, the Goals feature gives the ability to set both Company Goals and Team Goals. These are two distinct options but can be connected through subgoals. The idea behind such distinction is to separate the long-term, overarching goals of a company from simpler deliverables. For instance, if your Company Goal is to expand to major cities, a Team Goal can be opening a store in Vancouver. The Team Goal is assigned to a specific team or department to work on, and therefore, is tied to a company “Parent Goal” and becomes an actionable item-oriented with the company’s mission.
Setting up and sharing organizational goals does not only help you achieve visibility on what your teams are working on but also gives your employees a purpose to work towards. Every task done is no longer an item to be checked off and forgotten about, but a brick that paves the path to your organization’s vision.
Are you going to give Asana “Goals” a try? Let us know in the comments below.