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Podcasts > Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders

Achieving Company Success through Team Goals

Kerry Guard • Tuesday, September 12, 2023 • 60 minutes to listen

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Sophie Hedestad

Join us for an insightful conversation with Sophie Hedestad, the CEO of NOQX, as she shares her expertise on setting team goals. Discover how prioritizing quarterly objectives can propel your company, team, and personal growth, enabling you to achieve revenue targets and KPIs.


Kerry Guard: Hello, I'm Kerry guard and Welcome to Tea Time with tech marketing leaders.

Kerry Guard: Hi, I'm Kerry guard and Welcome to Tea Time with tech marketing leaders. We are live on both YouTube and LinkedIn. So if one fails, go check out the other. Also, if you're here with us, I can't see you unless you comment and let us know that you're here. So helpful to know who's joining us. So we can look out for your questions, which, oh, I hope you've brought your questions, y'all because what a conversation we are about to unpack today. And what I love about this conversation is it's not a typical marketing conversation. It's a team building and culture and company, one that I all feel like we're in desperate need of as we walk into the glorious q4. I don't know if q4 is a challenge for most, but it is certainly a challenge for us. And so being ahead of the game, being prepared and being ready to rock and roll is really helpful. And this conversation is certainly going to help us do that. today. I have with me, Sophie had said, Sophie, thanks for joining me. Yeah, thanks for having me. Yes. And so excited to have you. Sophie has a very interesting, a similar story to mine. Marketer turned ceo. It's a transition. It's a new world.


Sophie Hedestad: Yes. So I was starting off my career in sales. And then I went over to marketing. And now I went over to slow but the company I work for KNOX is quite small. So we're startup. We're five employees currently. So Web, small startup. quite excited. Exciting.

Kerry Guard: Oh, I love that. Oh, you're like in the thick of it. Yes. And Knox is a platform for goal setting success with their platform. You can set goals, visualize goals, communicate, follow up and take action on all of your goals. We're going to define what all this means in a second, don't panic, in terms of what goals goals means lots of things. So lots of different people. What is that? We're going to unpack it? Don't panic for what a curious story, Sophie, of how you've gone from marketer to SEO. So can you just tell us that journey? Bring us along? You know, how did you go? How did you get into marketing? Because whether marketing found us or we found marketing is always a curious journey. And then how did you make that leap to SEO? What's that story?

Sophie Hedestad: So just to go back to maybe like 13 years ago, I graduated from university and I started a sales job within Sol Sol software as a service. And I was doing sales for quite many years. But I was very curious, doing marketing for many, many years, as well. So I talked about the marketing career with my manager quite early, when I was doing sales, and there was an opportunity and I got the opportunity to take on doing marketing. And so when you have a little bit by coincidence, like a lot of things happens in life and yeah, so what I ended up being doing marketing and that I of course have also wanted to do for many many years. And the step to CEO I think it comes from a very curiosity building product and building teams and building saucer services. So I got this idea for two lamb I have two lovely co founders. multilang Robert. So yeah, it was not the plants that it was more coming from an idol that the three of us wanted to wear. Come to reality. Yeah. So that's that's the steps.

Kerry Guard: Oh my gosh, before we unpack all of the things can you remind us Sophie? Were so thank you free to r&b I love this global element. I love being in the UK. I feel so much more connected to the world between I'm actually having conversation with somebody who's in Australia in a few weeks like I just so tell us where you are Sophie and how you feel like bringing your product online for your specific community has really come to fruition.

Sophie Hedestad: So when I'm located in in Stockholm. But I would work with a global product, of course. Yeah, I think yeah, it's super exciting not only working, you know, within Sweden, Stockholm in the Nordics. I'm quite curious to work with other countries and regions as well. So yeah, I'm excited to see what regions will will launch in I think we're looking into the Nordics in the beginning. But I think us is a market that we want to approach as soon as we can. Now, yeah, so that's exciting. 

Kerry Guard: And you're not alone. It's so beautiful, the companies that are coming out of the Nordics. So we have get except to I interviewed I in feel free to knit r&b. Oh, my gosh, it must have been two years ago, she keeps the gift that keeps on giving that as there's free to. And then last week, I just interviewed someone who's also in Sweden, who has a product called Data dream that I owe. And so the the work that is coming out of Sweden is magical right now. And I love that you're trying to go global, because I think that's really I think we're a global society now, whether we, whether we're feeling that or not just yet. I mean, you know, we'll see what happens. But it's, yeah, I just love being in the UK and being connected to all these countries and meeting people like yourself. So thank you for joining me, Sofia for bringing your product and vision to the market. On a global scale. I think what you're doing is really important and impactful before we get there. Tell us the challenge you're facing what's on your mind, what's keeping you up at night. What's hard.

Sophie Hedestad: And then yeah, we're starting up a new business. So it's a lot of things. That it's difficult, of course, I think what's constantly on our minds is like developing our product, validating it with potential customers. The thinking about growth, Simon, how we can launch this product successfully in the Nordics, but also globally. So that is something that is definitely on my mind and the team's mind. So yeah, it's a lot of things. But I guess the growth is something that we will all want to.

Kerry Guard: Always growth, is always, 

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, we want to build a qualitative product as well. But I think we're quite confident that we're onto something with the to learn, it's what we can see tests so far is that it has, like amazing user experience that I have not experienced before. So I'm quite confident and proud of the product, but then it's always executing, you know, sales and marketing to get the growth that we would want.

Kerry Guard: It's very unusual to run into a founder who's also has a marketing background. How do you feel like that's really lended itself to bringing this product on onto the scene.

Sophie Hedestad: And then it's something that is really important, because marketing emanates also digital sales channels, lead generation, and so on. So it's very important for the company's growth, of course, to understand how we can use the website and other channels to get the inbound leads to raise awareness and to build a brand. So it's many aspects, of course, that is beneficial in launching a new product and tool. And I think I also have a background in sales. So I will do a lot of marketing and sales, which is quite nice, because then I will take care of the full customer journey, in a way. Also customer success. And you know, the full customer journey leads. And Robert is making sure we have a great tool is building that and Mattila is doing a lot of product and marketing. So we're actually completing each other in a really nice way because we have so different skill sets and work well together. So yeah. We're looking forward to launch this tool.

Kerry Guard: You have like a full leadership team before you even are like lunch like, oh my gosh, it's every new businesses dream right there as a trio of you. Wow, where were you all? Were you together? Like where did I don't normally do this story. And I'm starting another podcast called Tea Time with tech founders where I help to unpack this more with folks, but we're here and we're having a conversation. So let's Just have it like, Where were you? Were you all together? Did somebody spark the idea? How did this? Where did this all where did this product generate from? And then how did it take to help you all come together to make it happen? Tell me this founder story.

Sophie Hedestad:  Yeah the founder story, no, but I am in my previous company, I was running the OKRs. Process, let's say so it will be actives and key results, which is the goal resetting it is one goal setting framework that a lot of tech companies use us these days. And it's growing more and more popular as well. And as I was responsible for this process, I was doing a lot of research on both methodology, but also tools you can use to get the whole organization really engaged and excited about goals and extensive research on this. And I didn't find any tools out there that was really having an amazing user experience. And also, I felt like a lot of tools out there was built for management teams, and not for employers. So employees was not really excited to login to this kind of tools. Execute towards goals. So yeah, it was it was a problem area. And then I found my co founders on LinkedIn actually. So when we didn't work together before. So yeah, I have this idea. We came together, discuss it for many months, weeks, and so on. And despite that, this was something that would want to try out together, because we believed in it. We took some references from each other as well. They turned out really well.

Kerry Guard: Amazing. I I'm collaborating with a few folks on LinkedIn right now around some ideas, nothing that's actually coming to fruition just yet. But it isn't a magical place to find like minded people to say, Hey, I'm seeing this thing. Tell me whether you're seeing this thing or not into a crazy person, because it's nice to have that level set of folks you can build and cultivate relationships with so yes to that. Love it. Yes. Um, let's talk about oh, K Rs, I just want to call them OPR. I don't know why I think that's a different thing. We're gonna get into it. Goal setting. I mean, it was so important to you to figure out how to do goal setting that you actually built a product for it as a marketer. So talk to me about first of all, what, what is goal setting mean to you? Because I think what a lot of us hear goal setting is Marketo. Sure, like Yeah, yeah, the company needs to hit X amount of targets from a revenue standpoint, and we're on the hook from a marketing and sales standpoint. So yes, I know what a OKRs are Sophia, Sophie, you don't need to. But we're talking about something different here. We're not talking about company targets, we're talking about goals as it relates to it's different. So I'm not gonna pretend I know. I'm going to let us tell us, Sophie, what, what is goal setting in the sense when you're talking about OKRs.

Sophie Hedestad: So I think most people know about KPIs because that is something of course, companies are measuring continuously. And often it's about sales numbers, how the company is growing year over year, month, over month, or, or whatever they are tracking. So that is KPIs. And it's more like a single data point that you will track them. So OPR is a framework and it's more like a leadership style as well, that you want to get people excited about I will say KPIs is also the life micromanaging in a way because yours is also kind of including people engaged in football to help out setting the goals as well. So it's a framework to get people excited and to get people included. And you can decide if you want to set OKRs on a yearly cadence or quarterly cadence. So I would say like maybe a huge company, it would be better maybe to set like a yearly cadence, but for a startup, a quarterly cadence might feel better. So it depends what kind of company you are and what would work better for you. And OKR stands for objective and key results. So objective is basically a focus area, which is quite exciting and inspiring for employers. So which did not feel like growing out company 30%, or whatever it could be, it should be maybe something you would get excited about, like, create an awesome customer experience or you new logos equals to go to pizza. I don't know what your employees will get get excited about. But you want to visualize something with this objective like, why? Yeah, people would probably get more excited about creating an awesome customer experience rather than upselling. Customer, let's say. So be activists about creating excitement, the focus area that the company we have on the key results is how you will measure it. So that is more similar to KPI them. So how will you measure, if you have an awesome customer experience, you can do that by tracking net retention rate, or how you're growing your company's over time Net Promoter Score. Different customer satisfaction, who was that you want to use measuring if your customer are having an amazing experience with you? So yeah, that is objective is a focus area. And clear result is how you will measure a future your focus area. So that is kind of the basic, and then you want smart goals, goals as well. So you want them to be like Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant time bound. And that is something you will also force use.

Kerry Guard: Before you spell a t all over the place here, Sophie and how we do this thing. Let's sit in the moment of of the importance. So it's really helpful to know what OKRs mean. And ambiguity isn't something we always said it's a word we hang out with all the time. So I think it's really important to understand the difference of that. And really sitting in the thing that excites you. I want to add an end to that, but we're gonna come back to it. Why is it important for people within an organization to want to do this, this sounds like playing devil's advocate here. So feet sounds like more work? Where are you making more work for me.

Sophie Hedestad: And so I think, and then, if you're like, 1 to 10 employees, or like a really small company, then you can talk to each other a lot. And you can have good relationships with a fewer amount of people and you can discuss what you want to achieve, and so on. And communication is quite easy in shaft channels, and so on. But as your company grows, and you get over 50 employees, let's say this communication is not that easy. So for you to communicate your growth goals, or the goals for the company, it's important to have like a framework and a goal setting process, where top management, middle management, senior managers, and employees are aligned, like what are we working towards together, everyone show up at work, work really hard every day. And if everyone is running on different things, all of the time, you will not achieve your vision in them and you will not achieve their yearly goals in the end. And so it might require some more work in the beginning to streamline and to align and to have that communication. But if you do not have it, you will not grow as an individual and grow your company. And so it's it's quite it's it's important to create clarity for employees and create alignment and also enable execution to create a good culture as well I would say because if you would not do it, you will probably be frustrated because you do not people. Your managers are not communicated what what is expected from you and your team and the company. So I think it's really important for growing your business and for also more soft, soft things that people will not be engaged if they do not know where you're heading.

Kerry Guard: Ownership comes to mind. It's all well and good for us to put company targets ahead and say we need to grow by X percent by the end of the year. But as an individual, unless I'm sales with like clear commissions, and whatever, all that stuff, but like as an individual outside of sales, like, I don't know how to contribute to that. And so in boiling down in a very over simplistic way, it feels like that you're giving power back to the employee to take ownership of how they sit within the organization to, to then contribute to the company targets in the long run, or short term in terms of quarter versus long term versus annual.

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, I mean, I think it's a lot of, it's not like, you have one meeting with your employees, and you will communicate the goals, I think it would be some back and forth communication. So maybe you in the management communicates the broader vision and what you want to achieve and the growth goals for the next years. And then maybe you hand over to that singlets, like, based on the information you got here today, like what will your team country contribute with and then you would go back having workshops with your team and align on how you think you can support this. This goal from the company, and I'm in even a finance department could support the customer journey, they can create, like an awesome invoicing experience, let's say they could think about that. And for marketing that is not maybe picking up the phone and doing sales. And they want to of course, contribute with leads to sales. And they also want to raise brand awareness, and they want to grow website traffic. And that also requires key results. And, of course, like growth mindset to do that.

Kerry Guard: A growth mindset. Let's sit there for a second because I don't know that everybody understands what it means as an as an individual contributor, what it means to have a growth mindset. So can you shed some light on that for us? What does that mean to have a growth mindset?

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, I think there is, like a saying that you can have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. And a fixed mindset is that you kind of maybe are not that open to where possibilities. And a growth mindset is that you're always curious, to iterate and to try new things. Yeah, and I think if you have a growth mindset, you're also in, in a, in a good place, I would say in a company where you're thrive, where you can have a growth mindset, of course, as well. But yeah, I think objectives and key results and clear goals and clear vision and aligning that Winton's employees will foster a growth mindset. I don't know if that was the answer to your question, or but yea.

Kerry Guard: No, I think it's important because we talk we throw this word around a lot. As entrepreneurs, who naturally have a growth mindset, we wouldn't have started a company if we didn't, right, we're curious about how can we make the world a better place by doing what it is that we do by bringing the services or the product to the world that we want to bring? And we do that by asking a lot of questions. What if, what if, what if, what if, right, but as employees who want to show up and do a good job, contribute to the organization and then go home to their families who don't have an entrepreneurial mindset? It feels awkward to be like, what what do I need to be curious about? Why do I need to care? And like, what does this mean? And so I think bringing it back to the employee, and everything that you're saying is, it's about individual, it's about individual growth within your career, and then how to contribute to the organization because in order for the organization to thrive, it needs you, and it can't thrive out you. And I can't be here tomorrow to ensure you have a job. Unless you can continue to show up and do the great work you do what you can't do with a fixed mindset of I'm doing the best I can and the most Bowman today, take it or leave it like that's just not gonna fly, especially in a startup. Like you have to show up with curiosity, and wonder and question of why you understand we've been doing it this way. But is that really the best way you should be doing it? Or is there a better way and more streamlined way? How are you going to give the best customer experience? Is this really the best way we can give the best customer experience or is there a better way and just sitting in that wonder rather than being Like, this is how I was told to do this thing. So this is just how I'm going to do this thing, there's just two very different ways of approaching it. And one way is going to allow you to grow within your career and within the organization. And another way, you're going to, at some point be told thank you for doing the best you can the way that you did it. But now it's time for you to go elsewhere. Like, you're going to talk out at some point. And I think OKRs open up a way for people to find that curiosity that maybe they didn't have before. Just because you have fixed mindset today doesn't mean you have to have a fixed mindset tomorrow.

Sophie Hedestad: No, of course not. No, I'm in. If you look at your whole life, it could be periods of time where you have a fixed mindset, then it could be other areas and other times that you had a growth mindset. So it's not fixed for life? I would say it's budget, a person probably experienced both, I guess.

Kerry Guard: Go through stages. Yeah. You go through stages. Yeah. So talk to me, Sophie, about what are the hardest part of any goal setting is starting?

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, it's finding that balance, yeah, um, in some companies, in some cultures, company cultures might want a lot of direct communication, where it's communicate directly what is expected from the organizations, and some organizations might want to be included a lot into the goal setting, and so on. So it's really finding that balance, you know, communicating clear goals, but also including people in the right way. And then I think, you know, this iterations where you go back and forth and discuss what goals, or what objectives and key results should a certain department have, I think, yeah, in the, in the annual unit to discuss or just set the set the goals and move on and start start working towards that goal.

Kerry Guard: Start from the start from the top down, or from the bottom, like, Where does the goal setting? Do? Does the company set the targets for the year of like, okay, this is the amount we need to grow. And these are the targets we need to hit. So how within the organization, are we going to make that happen? Or is it more of the organization coming and saying, Okay, we think based off of where we want to go for the year are these the end these goals that we've set that we can then go do this, like what sort of the who starts the process.

Sophie Hedestad: So I guess, the ultimate process would build this low together with the management, have an idea that of the goals, and they would go to the boards and anchor, this goes with them. And if they give thumbs up, they will go to them prints and say like, this are the goals based on these assumptions and this analysis that we have done. So I think that would be the ultimate process. But I think goal setting is very complex as well. And then it's a lot of stakeholders, and a lot of the wheels within the management, center leadership made them leadership boards. So in the end, it's an it's probably not that streamlined as I told you, it's, and that could be the part of why it's getting complex as well, that it's a lot of people saying different goals and documented documenting different goals and different digital locations. And it's hard to follow, like who's deciding what goals did we agreed on in the end? Yeah, but I guess like simplify it and have a streamlined process for it. And in this process, it could be good done to have a steady, steady leadership and that has been working in this cadence for many years because I would say goal setting cadence, or OKR cadence is if you start today, you might be happy about the process 12 months later, because then you went through, you know, all the months in a year and then the second year you want to iterate that and the third year, you might feel a bit more comfortable with the process. So I think experience having people with experience how to do strategy and goal setting could be beneficial as well.

Kerry Guard: From personal experience of having set goals for the last few years. The one thing that I have learned, take it or leave it? And Sophie, I'd love your opinion on this, as the leadership team, I don't think is our responsibility to set goals for the rest of the team targets, yes, these are the things we need to accomplish this year as an organization, how you all figure out how we get there is, should be up to the boots on the ground, I just found that so many times I've as partner and I would set goals for the rest of the organization. And none of them would happen. And we'd be like, Why aren't these goals getting done? And why aren't you guys doing these things, it's not a priority, because it's not going to be the thing that moves us in the direction that we need to go. So none of us care.

Sophie Hedestad: But the ultimate goal setting process is definitely not set by the management and for all teams and departments. It should be the broader goals for the company. So well, yeah, it would be maybe the growth goal. And they I mean, the fewer goals you set on the top, the better it is for them is to understand them and to make sense of them. So I think when when management to them has communicated the broader goals than the terms, of course should set their objectives and their clear results if we talk about OKR framework. Yeah, it is set there.

Kerry Guard: Yeah. We'll get there in a second. One last question. Before we get there. Yeah. Should the framework that we're about to walk through, everybody should go through that framework, right, on an on team level? Like, the way I set goals is leadership should be we should all be self following same process? Or is it different depending on where you are within the organization?

Sophie Hedestad: I think the process could be similar. So if you have a workshop where you brainstorm the goals, probably you would know the goals, because they are quite recurring for a lot of departments. So yeah, so I would say like, communication from from management, what are the broader goals? And then the terms would workshop, what can we do to support this company wide goals? And then would then on an individual level, you would have conversations with your manager? What how you can contribute to the team goals. So I guess it will drill down. And I'm not suggesting like a strict top down approach here. I'm suggestion that it would be a bit communication up and down. And I think if you have a certain position, you would know a lot better, what would be impactful in your role than someone else? Of course, so I think, yeah, this centralizing as much as possible would be the preference.

Kerry Guard: I love that. I think that's really important. I love what you're saying it shouldn't be top down, but it should be fluid.

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah

Kerry Guard: Should always be open. Okay. Let's talk about smart goals. Let's spill the tea here on the framework here, Sophie and talk me through the framework. So it starts with S.

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, so that's specific. And then we have M, which is measurable, and then we have attainable, and then we have relevant time bound. So I think I'm in OKRs should I mean when you have your objectives and key results, I think they can follow the SMART goals as well that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. 

Kerry Guard: Alright, let's talk about each of these. I take notes y'all because it helps me focus so bear with me specific what is specific mean I mean?

Sophie Hedestad: I mean, yeah specific it let's talk about the nonspecific like yeah, nonspecific would be let's do the best we can to get customers or something like that. I don't know if that was a good one. But yeah, but specific with the like, yeah. Get more customers could be specific goal or.

Kerry Guard: I'm going to be really obnoxious and really poke the bear on that one. What is get more customers mean?

Sophie Hedestad: Yes, sorry. That is more like an objective. I would say so specific. Yeah. I don't have a good answer. It should be specific. It should be clear and concise and easy to grasp. 

Kerry Guard: Okay. Yeah, I think it's important. So one of the things that we do, and I just walked my team through this, and if you follow me on LinkedIn, you would have seen a screenshot of a brief synopsis of me doing this, we follow the traction framework, which uses SMART goals, which is really helpful. But in the traction framework, we follow a process in terms of how we define our meetings. So it's called IDs, issue, discuss and solve. So every week or two weeks, depending on how often you meet, you talk about the issues within your team. What things are we struggling with today? And can we solve it in this moment? If we can't solve it in this moment, that we need to move it to the issues board? And every week, we come back to the issues board? Are we still have these issues? Have we solved them? Have we figured out how to do about them? What are the tasks coming out of this? And if we can't figure it out, it needs to become a goal. Because we need to, clearly this is an issue and it's a roadblock in our way. So it's a very specific thing. fancam example, so an example would be we have a tool, we have this this tool that we've been using for a long time, but it's causing us tremendous energy and effort, and it breaks constantly. Is this really the tool we should be using? If it keeps coming up? And we keep bringing it up? Is this really what we should be using? No. Okay, let's move that to a rock to a goal, a specific goal, where we're going to figure out what we shouldn't be using, and how it's going to help us be more productive and getting our jobs done. And to not have this thing be breaking all the time. Right. So that's like one example of what how we figure out what a good goal should be is an issue that keeps coming up over and over again. And it's an it's to Sophie's point, a very specific thing. That's in our way. Have you heard of this? Have you used a similar framework in terms of like, figuring out what clear problems keep coming up within an organization? Sophie?

Sophie Hedestad: I really liked that issue, discussion, discussion, and what did you say the last was?

Kerry Guard: Solve.

Sophie Hedestad: So yeah, it's so solve? No, but I like that. And I think I'm in different goals have different importance, I guess. So if there is a quick solution, then you would solve it. And if it would be like, as you give an example of buying a new tool, or replacing a tool that doesn't work for you, then it may require some willpower, so but then I think there are different timeframes, setting goals. So you have a vision, you have maybe two to three year plan, you have a one year plan, you have a quarterly plan, and you have a monthly plan, and this would be on the monthly maybe. So I think yeah, it's, that's a bit complex with goal setting, like the different timeframes. But it's really important that you do this daily things, of course, to set goals and to work more efficiently.

Kerry Guard: I like that talk to me more about the time frame of things. So when do you so do you set? Does the goal setting depend on what the goal is that you then define how long it should be a goal for or is it, you set the timeframe, and then you define the goal.

Sophie Hedestad: So I think a company would typically have a vision with which could be like 10 year horizon, and then like the two to three year plan, that's your strategy in a way like how we will what our goal is in two to three years because you want to have it's kind of attached to the vision, right. And then we have a yearly goal, because you have owners that that's my expected growth, certain sales numbers from your company, and then you would have quarterly goals. So I think when it comes to where teams, you should maybe have like a yearly goal and a quarterly goal, you might not talk to your team about what's our two to three year goals, because that should maybe not really discussed in a team level. But I think on an individual level and team level, you want to understand where how you will move the needle for a year, at least for a quarter would be more initiatives like exactly what will we do to get the year to go and then you might work in scrims or sprints, and break it down in third further, so I think yeah, thinking of it as time horizons to build a simple way to grasp it a little bit. 

Kerry Guard: One thing you said. Yeah, one thing you said that I think it's really important that we sort of lose sight of when we're in the thick of it as leadership or VPS, like VPS, who are then, you know, extending themselves into leadership is the mission. I feel like we get so caught up in growth that we forget, why did we create this thing to begin with? And what's our goal? And in having this thing to keep going? Why do we exist?

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, the purpose No?

Kerry Guard: Yes, yes. And how that comes into your team. So when you set goals, we talked about specific AI, we're getting together the other four in a minute, coming back to that, though, the mission and the vision and values, right vision, mission and values, do the goals generally need to hit on those? Mission mentioned mission? But I mean, that's hard when you're like in the weeds of it. And you're saying not necessarily, to how do those come into play for the folks on the ground who are trying to set goals but our day to day?

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, I definitely I think, you know, I have a triangle in my head now with addition on top and then I have mission, then I have strategy, then I would probably have OKRs, then I would have to OKRs. And individual OKRs, let's say so I would have the vision on top. And that's steering the whole company. And you should really visit them when you're doing your OKRs probably I'm in your goals would stare towards the vision. But that would be the North Star Right? Like that, what you're, you're heading towards and and then when you're onboarding employees, and when you set goals, you should revisit this and have a look at it together and discuss it. Remind yourself of your purpose and where you're going long term.

Kerry Guard: I'm going to be gonna harp on this because I think we tend to, myself included, we tend to get stuck in growth in goals being tied to growth, and I don't, and I love what just what you're saying about mission and coming back to the Why did you build the thing in the beginning?

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, yeah, I agree with you that companies often end up in aggressive growth goals, I guess. owners would want the growth, but also like, the management would want the growth because I could do multiple things. You don't want to let go of employees because you have served them. Cash in certain cashed out. And if it doesn't add up, you need to really organize yourself to be more efficient. And you don't want to do that. And building on a growth journey. If you work for a company with a lot of growth up, you will probably learn a lot of new things, you will be able to whereby tools, you will be able to buy education externally, you would invest in people, you will invest in tools, you will invest in your office, you will invest in a lot of things. But if you're a company out of cash, the opposite will happen. So I guess it's not only to feel the owners pockets, it's also I mean, to sustain people having job banda? Yeah.

Kerry Guard: I think that's important to know, right? Like, we all get caught up in the feeling of needing to grow, but we forget why we need to grow. And I think when you're setting OKRs coming back to that why it's really helpful in getting out getting unstuck from like, just need to hit numbers. Why are we trying to hit these numbers? What does it mean, I talk to my team about this all the time. I'm not here to create growth numbers for the sake of creating growth numbers. It's because I want you to have better benefits. I want to be able to ask me for things that make logical sense without me having to find money in the in the cushions of the sofa, I I want to be able to give you that flexibility that you need in life that isn't tied to constant outcomes of an organization like I want there to be some give and take there. So coming back to the why is leadership when you're asking your team to create OKRs I think is really helpful like Well, why do I want this company to keep going not just because I have a job but like what does that job mean for me in my I, in my life, I spend 40 hours a week here. I want that to be like really intentional. What does that mean? And so I love that in terms of being really intentional as an individual. And going back to the individual growth, which I think lends itself nicely to the measurement side of things like that's the accountability, right? So if you're gonna set goals, as a team, as a, as leadership as a team, and as an individual, you have to know whether you've been successful or not at the end of the day, right? That's what the measurement means. How do you measure goals that are a bit more? Like, I want a better customer experience? Well, what does that mean? Are you getting more? Are you having clients renew on a more regular basis? Are you having better open rates? Like what is better customer experience? mean, from a measurement standpoint? Does it always come back? I guess my question is on saying it out loud. Does it always come back to numbers? Or are there other ways to measure of success outside of like, one plus one equals two?

Sophie Hedestad: I think, like measuring customer success, or customer experience is quite I mean, there are a lot of KPIs how you can do that. It's more like picking who you're going to choose and stick with them. I think what's more difficult, what I think you're trying to explain is quality and work. Yes, that is really difficult to measure, right. So that is often something you fill in Lanzhou, like this person's been very productive, and the quality is always great. That is quality work. But it does the, let's say it's content purchase and doing amazing quality in creating ebooks and reports. They're fantastic. And then you're measuring it by how many downloads they get. And that's another kind of skill set, you need to push them right. So just because you publish them on your website, it doesn't going to like it's not going to be like word of mouth that no one's going to talk about this report. If you don't do a lot of people are standouts, search engine, optimize it, and so on. If if you are measuring downloads, and you have a, you're great in the outreach, but you have a really shitty report, then the ones that download sets will not be going to build that happy. So unit quality and work of course, as well. And that's quite difficult to measure.

Kerry Guard: I think it's something you're you're alluding to, which I think is important is when you're setting OKRs as an individual, understanding your impact outwardly. So you may have created a beautiful report, but if nobody downloads it and sees it, then how do you know that you've been successful? Right? So then it's, it's, there's another part of the team that's being impacted there from the CRO standpoint, and who owns CRO and how you know, your thing's going to be downloaded. And so I do think there does need to be somewhat of a top down approach of like, as a team, we need to increase our conversion rate, as an example, right? Our conversion rates aren't very good. And because our conversion rates aren't very good, we're not getting as many leads as we probably could out of the lead gen that we're generating. So what can we do as a team to better this? And so Okay, so designed to to create a better design, but then what is the website team going to do to make sure that that thing gets downloaded on a more regular basis, right. So there needs to be a bit of cohesion around the organization in terms of you don't want to create what I'm feeling like you're saying Sophie is you don't want to create OKRs in a silo either. Like you don't want to be tapped down. But you also don't want to be an island like there needs to be a balance and open communication all around. But in some regard, it needs to start it needs start somewhere whether it's at the leadership point or at the team standpoint, but there needs to be some collective goal before you do individual goal I think is what I'm asking.

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, it is difficult. So when like a designer like a graphical designer, that is quality and work right and productivity and she think new designs would be an important for that person to like deliver have? Yeah. But that's really difficult to measure, of course. So that I guess, you you would have maybe some ideas there as well. But I think yeah, yeah, to have an exciting spirit that the graphic designer wants to support these comics in doing their very best. So there are, there are definitely roles that is difficult to measure on a hard metric.

Kerry Guard: Yeah, it needs to be a leader it needs, the leadership person needs to be in line with what everybody's individual goals are of how they ladder up and how you're all going to work together. And it needs to be a collective, let's talk about attainable. Attainable means that you can actually do it, but at the same time, you want it to be somewhat of a stretch, like there's Is there a balance? What do you what's your opinion on that when you talk about attainable?

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, I agree with you is to build stretch goals. So it needs to be ambitious. And with OKRs. It's always like if let's say you set up five key results that you want to achieve it for an objective, then if everything is grilling, and you choose five, then you also in a way did not do your OKRs maybe stretch goals. Because it's also fine not to reach all goals. It could be learnings from them. But let's say like two or three is hit, then I think you'll have quite I mean, you should have a chance, reaching them for sure. And I guess, attainable. I just remember when I was working when I was younger, I was working in the clothing store. And then the the week of this report, like the sales target was you know, 1 million I don't know, but it was huge. And we didn't maybe it was this kind of more exclusive store and it was on the top floor in a bigger Mall. And we actually didn't get that many customers through the door. We maybe did okay, sales, but I'm in it was not attainable. So we've never looked at the numbers really because it was not everyone knew we're we're not going to hit them in a way. Right? So I think yeah, yeah, they need to be inspiring at this. But I think they could the stretch goals. And ambitious.

Kerry Guard: I think that's important in terms of the collective feeling like they're attainable, and then having some stretch goals within that. It's a balancing, this whole thing is like feels like a teeter totter and you're balancing at all. What is relevant mean?

Sophie Hedestad: That's a good question, relevance. And then I think it is as simple as, let's say, there'll be active, the key results must match, there'll be active in a way, right? Or what does it mean for you? What would you say, Kerry?

Kerry Guard: So a good example I have is I um, so one of my goals for this quarter is to create a new podcast called Tea Time with tech founders. And why is that relevant? It's relevant, because one of our new service lines is being a fractional CMO. And so I want to have conversations with founders to understand what their problems are, and how we might better support either them directly or other founders like themselves, right. So it's relevant because it's tied to the overarching goal of this new service line as, as we're offering for MKG. Now, if I started a podcast around, you know how to create awesome new footwear. Well, unless our clients are shoe makers, like Nike or not, you know, that's probably not relevant. So making sure that your your goals are in line with what you're actually trying to accomplish as an organization is where the relevancy comes in. Right. So and again, like my, I think this is a great example. So now my measurement goal is that I want to make sure that I have at least eight to 12 bookings in for next for next quarter, right. I'm going to launch in October, I need 12. I need to 12 to fill the quarter. So I'm going to start now to get that back filled. Right. So that's my measurement of it. It's specific because I'm starting a new podcast, which is very specific In terms of what the what thing is that I'm creating. And then my timetable is that I'm trying to do this in this quarter starting for q4. So that's a really great example of what a OKR could be as an individual contributor up into the organization. I'm going to start new podcast, it's going to be for this audience in this timeframe with this many bookings for the quarter. One question I had for you, Sophie, in terms of, of goals, and something we've sort of chat are challenged with with an organization that happens a lot to us is how goals roll. So like, if you don't hit an OKR for this quarter, and it's a quarterly goal, do you roll it into the next quarter? Or do you just say, Okay, we didn't hit it. But that's fine. That's fine. We just need to it'll happen when it happens. And it no longer needs to be a goal. 

Sophie Hedestad: Yeah, I think, yeah. I think you can rollover from another quarter to to another. I mean, if it's important for your company, for your team or for yourself, I think you can let goal slide over to the next quarter.

Kerry Guard: Okay, that's helpful, because we're never sure do we roll them, do we eat them? What do we do? Drummer, I see you. I'm so glad you're here. Um Sophie, this has been incredibly helpful in terms of how we create OKRs. And how we do it in a way that smart, not necessarily from the top down how we worked together as an organization to ultimately reach not just our goals as a company, but our mission and our vision and keeping sight of that. Any last final words for our listeners in terms of those who were like, I want to go to this thing? Like, what's your final advice for those folks?

Sophie Hedestad: Oh, good question. But I think it doesn't need to be perfect. So you don't need to plan it for like quarter and quarter and quarter because it's going to end up in a way you didn't think anyways. So I think you can start small. And then if you want to go with the OKR framework, and just set the objectives and key results, set fewer goals than you think like maximum one to three objectives and key results per on company level two and level and so long. So I think keep it really simple and just start and iterate and discuss how we can improve it over time. So yeah, no, do not look for perfection.

Kerry Guard: Perfection is the enemy. Yeah. I love last question for you, Sophie, because you're more than a marketer and CEO. Um, what's your favorite hot beverage?

Sophie Hedestad: Sorry, what was that?

Kerry Guard: What's your favorite hot beverages are teas and coffees and hot chocolate? Oh, okay. Fabric, okay.

Sophie Hedestad: I drink about our coffee. So I must say coffee.

Kerry Guard: And where's your favorite spot to like sit and enjoy? Do you sit in enjoy it? Or is it more of like, I gotta get it into that I could then get off to my day what sort of like your if you could sit and enjoy it where we you know, what would that feel like for you?

Sophie Hedestad: I really enjoy you know, when I get into the office in the morning and I bring a cup of coffee. And then the first one is really nice. The second one and third one is not that nice. I drink it but yeah, the first one is just really nice. Doesn't matter where I am. In the office answering some of the mail have it on the side.

Kerry Guard: Starting your day, I always tell my children to not start like engaging with like they can talk to me and have a current like they can hang out with me. But don't ask me to do anything until I've had my cup of coffee. Okay, can we just sit and enjoy in the conservatory and, and sip? Yeah, I'm not gonna rush it. No, that's nice. Sophia, so great. Thank you so much for joining me.

Sophie Hedestad: Thank you so much, Kerry.

Kerry Guard: This episode Yes, yes. Thank you for listening. If you found this episode helpful, please like subscribe and share. This episode is brought to you by MKG marketing our agency they accelerate submission of b2b vendors via SEO digital ads and analytics is hosted by me Kerry guard CEO and co founder of MKG marketing, Music Mix and mastering done by the amazing team at MKG. And if you'd like to be a guest Please visit to apply.

This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

If you'd like to be a guest please visit to apply.

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