Business superstar and digital media icon Gary Vaynerchuk has a seriously lofty goal: He wants to buy the New York Jets. And everything he does is meant to support that goal. It's his raison d'être.
He's well on his way there. He's an investor in Facebook, Uber, and Snapchat, owns a successful social media agency and talent agency, and has a YouTube channel and social media presence that is growing at a breakneck pace.
Every project he takes on, every decision that he makes, every new startup he invests in...everything he does is meant to bring him one step closer to buying his favorite NFL franchise.
This is a microcosm of something organizations all over the globe struggle with: goal alignment.
Picture this: Your company's overall goal for the year is to upgrade your product to its next version. Meanwhile, someone from the product team is working on a separate brand new product. That new product might be amazing, but that one worker is not working towards everyone's common goal.
The bigger your organization, the more important this concept becomes. How can you ensure goals are aligned across an entire organization?
There are two broad approaches to goal alignment: people-centric and organization-centric.
People-centric goal alignment
In the people-centric model, goals flow from the top down. The CEO sets their goal, the rest of the C-Suite sets goals that support the CEO's goal, VP's set goals that support the C-suite, middle managers set goals that support VP's, and so on and so forth. People sometimes also refer to this as "cascading goals."
Organization-centric goal alignment
Organization-centric goal alignment involves establishing a set of organizational goals which apply to everyone from the CEO to the interns. This organizational strategy communicated to all employees and employees are encouraged to establish individual goals that support these high-level objectives.
Which is better?
If you want to set goals like Gary, you want to lean towards the organization-centric model. Here's why.
The people-centric model is slow, rigid, and just not a great fit for most organizations. Waiting on each level of the organization to come up with their goals so that the next level down can set theirs in service of the one before it can take a while. And that process might have to reset every time there are changes in the business.
Plus, it can be difficult to determine a hierarchy in organizations using more of a "matrix" style org chart.
When your goals are organization-centric, there is one goal that everyone shoots towards. You can still "cascade" your goals down the line, but more on a department-by-department basis. To go back to the same example, if an organization's goal is to upgrade their product, the marketing department might have a sub-goal of creating a new branding message for that upgraded product to support awareness of the work other parts of the organization are doing.
But isn't Gary just one person?
Now, you might be thinking, "Gary Vee is just one person. Doesn't that make his model people-centric?" Sure, you could make that argument. But don't think of Gary the person. Think of Gary as the center point of all his ventures. You can even see it in the names of his companies, VaynerMedia and VaynerTalent. He's not sending his goal down the line on a person by person basis.
The reason his style of goal setting is so effective is its ability to create focus across hundreds of individuals. Every person in his organizations can clearly see the end goal they're working towards, and that allows them to focus their efforts towards exactly that. People at VaynerTalent know that by acquiring more clients, they help the company achieve greater financial success, which in turn will help Gary buy Gang Green. That visibility from top to bottom helps everyone across the organization work towards a common objective.
It also helps that his goal never changes. Never. But that's a topic for another blog.
Bonus: Employees will feel more ownership of their work
Here's the best part. Not only does organization-centric goal setting make things faster and more agile, it also helps employees feel a connection between what they do and how it impacts the bigger picture. We've talked time and time again on this blog about how important employee engagement is, but according to CEB research, 36 percent of employees don't even understand their employer's strategic objectives. When there is clear understanding of where an organization is going, goals can more easily be tailored to show how employee efforts are contributing. And that makes for an engaged bunch.
Try your hand at it
So how can you put Gary's model for setting goals into action? We've got a great goal setting template available for free download that will help you map out your goals so that they link to those of your organization. It's also got some helpful tips about how to create goals that are SMART, outcome-driven, and has milestones set along the way to track progress.
Download it today and start setting goals like Gary Vee.