Set Goals That Connect and Align Your Remote Team

Quick hit: Here are four steps to creating goals that connect and align your remote team:

  1. Be simple, specific, and leave room for imperfection.
  2. Align objectives, then let the team own KRs.
  3. Support goals with incentives.
  4. Measure, debrief, iterate.

In the face of coronavirus, his sales team was on the brink of going full-remote for the first time ever. So Kazoo’s Chief Customer Officer Tony Capasso did what strategic leaders do: He set goals. Remote team goals.

I had the same objective that every leader has in this situation,”  said Tony, who oversees both Kazoo’s Sales and Customer Success teams. “Given that we’re in a unique place and time, how do you make sure we stay aligned and connected? And how can we best support each other?”

If you and your company leaders are asking these same questions, take a page from the unique playbook Tony wrote for Kazoo’s sales team. We’ll look at the two goals he set with his newly remote employees, and the clear, simple steps they took to find success.

Start simple, be specific, and leave room for imperfection

Tony, who over created two new department goals:

  • Build the muscle to successfully work remote
  • Stay connected and productive while working remote

“In a time like this, it could be easy to start goal-setting for the sake of setting goals,” Tony said. “Don’t. Your goals still have to be meaningful and focused on the right things. For us, that meant staying aligned and connected while also recognizing that this wasn’t business as usual. I don’t expect us to be perfect at this. These goals were specifically designed for us to take the steps to build the muscle, to get good at it, while acknowledging that we’re human.”

Each goal, which Tony’s remote workers could see in the Kazoo platform, contained measurable key results (KRs), including, “Entire team works remotely week of 3/16” and “All SDRs complete calls during week of 3/16.” 

Coronavirus -- Sales remote team goals in the Kazoo platform

Align goals, then let your team own the KRs

At the heart of the new, remote team goals was this key result: “Entire sales team and supporting departments adopt this goal and document their own personal key results for this goal by EOD 3/16.”

This element of personal adoption and ownership was critical for the project’s success. Given the permission to adapt the broader goal to their personal working styles and work-from-home situations — plus permission to be imperfect in this shared trial period — the Kazoo sales team jumped in.

Team members populated the Kazoo platform with personalized goals, such as “Adapt and Excel in the Time of Coronavirus” and “Keep My Foot on the Gas,” with KRs that covered:

  • Productivity
    • “Make X outbound dials this week”
  • Team-building and company culture
    • “Hold 3 5-minute face-to-face, real-time (i.e. Zoom, not Slack) check-ins with coworkers each day”
  • Professional development
    • “Read 1 article or chapter of business development book daily”
  • Staying mentally and physically healthy

Key insight: Focus on what you can control

Kazoo Account Executive Garrett Weber-Gale completed 100% of his KRs for the first week of remote work by giving them energy, keeping them measurable, and focusing on things he could control.

“I can’t control how many people pick up the phone or are willing to have a conversation,” Garrett said. “But I can control how many outbound calls I make. So I set a goal to make 150 outbound calls — while working from home, with a toddler — and I did. That’s what I focus on. Be realistic about what’s in your control, then consistently pursue that success.”


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Support goals with behavior bonuses

In addition to creating shared department goals, Tony partnered with Kazoo’s People & Culture team to populate the platform with behavior bonuses to encourage the team’s success. This enabled the remote team members to earn points (which they could later redeem for rewards) by working towards the goal’s completion.

“We designed behavior bonuses specifically for this first week of full-remote work,” Tony noted. “Things we wouldn’t normally offer points for but felt worth it to do when things were going to be extra challenging.”

remote team goals supplemented by behavior bonuses in the kazoo platform

Tony then doubled down on the department’s chances at success by making “redeem at least one behavior bonus related to this goal” one of the KRs in the goal itself — neatly creating an incentivizing closed loop.

(Spoiler: His team knocked the goal out of the park.)

Measure, debrief, and recalibrate remote team goals based on key learnings

Tony and the team members tracked their remote team goals closely in the Kazoo platform. At the end of the week, they synced up for a video conference debrief to share key learnings: What worked, what didn’t, and where they saw potential for future success. 

(If you’re curious, they concluded: Remote learning was working great, the team needed clear expectations around what was mandatory vs. optional, and there were surprising insights about what was active in the market.)

“It’s important to close the loop,” Tony said. “If you don’t ever come back around and recap how things ended, and take learnings from them to iterate and make things better, the team never knows whether you were invested in those goals in the first place. Debrief, figure out what worked, and adjust. Then get back out there and do it again.”


Planting the seeds for success

Remember, especially if your team is going remote for the first time ever: You’re forging a new and wild path. Focus on what matters, align your remote team’s goals, support discrete KRs with behavior bonus incentives, and plant seeds for future success.

“In our debrief, we really emphasized gratitude and togetherness, as well as the idea of planting the seeds,” Tony said. “Because this is all so new and challenging, it’s not realistic to focus on winning today. Take it one step at a time. Build the muscle. Plant the seeds for future successes.”

See how the Kazoo platform can keep your team aligned — in times of change, or anytime.

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