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Aligning your organisation by cascading objectives

Posted on 13/04/2016 by


Alignment and cascade of objectives

As it’s the start of a new business year, you’ll no doubt be busy writing new objectives and goals for your organisation. Our purpose built Performance Management software Actus™ is designed to align the performance of your people with the business goals that you want to achieve. However, regardless of how you manage performance in your organisation, the way in which you formulate your objectives should be just as critical as how you try to achieve them. The more effectively you can plan, the more efficiently your organisation can operate.  

However in our experience, this activity is rarely done effectively, if at all; particularly in organisations that stand to benefit the most, typically those with around 50-500 employees. The good thing is, good planning is not hard to implement. You already have the existing resources that can be used to make this critical annual step to aligning and cascading key organisational objectives within your organisation: your senior management. All it takes is a little time.

It really is key you align performance with organisational objectives, because objectives should remain relevant and be revisited throughout the year. Appraisal is probably the most well-known event in the Performance Management calendar, however, unlike objectives, appraisals sit right at the end of the process. The purpose of having appraisal is to motivate and focus staff to give their best to your organisation, while defining how successfully they have been performing. How can this be done fairly, however, if the process does not start with objectives that outline expectations on an individual’s performance, and align with those of the organisation? If you can put these in place, once you have reached appraisal time these clear objectives will allow you to accurately reflect on the progress that has been made. You want people to have their objectives front and centre for the majority of the year, and that’s something that paper, unlike Performance Management software, just can’t do.

So how can you implement proper objective setting? We recommend process of cascading your objectives. Cascading objectives is a skill that many managers are not familiar with and it does take a little practice, but is tremendously powerful.

What is involved in cascading objectives?

This critical Performance Management topic is so important that we even have a video on it. However in a nutshell:

1. At board level, decide 4- 6 strategic goals for the year. If the ultimate one is a financial goal, go down a level by asking what the main driver of that result could be in each of your business areas e.g. Sales – New business acquisition, or perhaps Customer Service – Retention rate.

2. Make them SMART and visible to the management level below. (See our white paper on SMART objectives for more information on how SMART objectives can benefit you)

3. Ask your staff how their can department help to achieve the SMART goals. Help them to define SMART targets for their area.

4. Ensure the departmental targets are cascaded, so the remaining levels become individual targets by discussing what staff can do to support this departmental/strategic goal.

5. Document and manage individual performance against these goals over the course of the year

And that’s all there is to it!

If the process seems unnecessarily time consuming, remember that goal setting is proven to increase clarity, productivity and motivation. You don’t want 80% of your organisation to be without direction. Without clear goals in place, people will either coast, look elsewhere, or make up their own, which may not be in the direction that you want them to be.

If you’d like more information on how to set useful objectives, or to find out more about our Performance Management software Actus™, visit our website at, drop us an email at or call us on 01582 793053.

About Actus™ Software 

Actus™ Software are employee performance experts, with employee engagement built in. Founded in 2008 under Advance Change as a Learning and Development organisation and Training Consultancy, the Actus™ Performance Management Software followed in September 2012. The software and training combined have helped to create a company that makes Performance Management meaningful, rather than a gruelling task. Advance Change are unique because of their ability to wrap organisational development expertise around Performance Management software, helping to accelerate desired results and provide a faster return on investment. Clients range from international companies to public services, to SME’s. Actus™ isn’t just an appraisal software; it’s a scalable working tool that can be used all year round.

Actus Software is a registered trading name of Advance Change Limited.