Cascading goals is the process of setting and linking goals at different levels within a company. The intention is to ensure and maintain the alignment of a company’s objectives and employees’ goals and activities.
At the top, the CEO sets a company-wide goal, then assigns roles or tasks to lower leadership in order to accomplish these goals. As you can assume, these people assign smaller goals to the employees beneath them, and it goes on and on. Although the goals get smaller, they must stay linked to the ultimate, company-wide goal. Employees should always keep in mind what picture their piece of the puzzle is helping put together.
Visualize the Alignment
Imagine a pyramid, with the CEO at the top, an executive team below, departmental leadership under that, and so on with employees as the biggest part of the pyramid at the base. Now imagine an inverted pyramid overlaid on top of this one, where the largest and ultimate goal is at the top base with more specific goals as you get to the bottom tip of the pyramid.
Let’s think of a simple example of how to not achieve a goal. The CEO of a company wants shoe sales to go up 10% in the next quarter. She or he sends a company-wide email to all the employees in all the stores. A shoe clerk reads this and thinks “ok and what am I supposed to do, work harder? I already work hard.'' Certainly increasing a company’s sales by 10% is a huge ask, and a shoe clerk may not have the tools or guidance necessary to achieve this goal. Nor does the CEO have the time to delegate all the responsibilities and actions to every person at every level of the company.
Instead, the process of cascading goals down the ladder gets put in place. The goals must be clearly defined at every level to make things run smoothly. Of course, they must stay connected to the ultimate goal set by the CEO. They are all relevant, but not necessarily the same.
Clarity & Happiness
The benefits of cascading goals are numerous. For one, it means less work for everyone involved and managing tasks becomes easier. You experience a boost in team morale as the company is connected and working hard toward an ultimate singular mission. In the end, your employees will be aligned to leadership and the company’s vision as a whole.