Magazine Article | December 1, 2018

Ask The Board: Setting Goals For Your Software Company

Business Insider claims 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. The world won’t end if you don’t, in fact, spend all year waking up earlier, going to the gym, or learning a new language. The goals you set for your business in 2019, however, come with much higher stakes. This month we asked our editorial advisory board how their teams set goals and how they ensure their companies stay on track to meet those goals.

Most recently the company was introduced to the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) process. This began at the executive level, cascaded down to each department level OKR, and then developed at an individual level. The effect is that the entire organization is on board working towards the same high-level goals that started at the top because their objectives support the larger goals. The details of each objective (recommend five maximum) are supported by three to five detailed points (Key Results) that roll up to each objective. Finally, the detail on the “what” and “how” for each of the Key Results is documented and measured on a monthly or quarterly basis. Ideally each result has a form of measurement already in place, but if not, it ends up being a part of gaps that will be reviewed and addressed in future activities across the organization. Of course, the goal is that all of these roll up to a corporate dashboard with the ability to drill down into the detail on any given item to determine which items are positively or negatively affecting the result.

MARK SOKOL VP of Marketing, A-LIGN

Mark Sokol has spent 20+ years in marketing leadership roles at software and tech companies, including Infor, Safe, Ceridian, and ConnectWise. In addition to his current role at A-Lign, he also sits on the board of directors at Stoli Diversified, which helps Professional Employer Organizations and HRIS/HCM Technology software companies with content and lead gen.

At AbacusNext, we approach setting goals like an athlete approaches conditioning. Our focus is on consistently improving our performance and pushing ourselves to set new personal bests every day. We believe our people are better-positioned to enable our clients’ success when they’re coming from a place of strength, which is why we give careful consideration when setting goals to our team’s personal, professional, and financial growth.

Dreaming is the first phase of planning, so we dream BIG. But dreaming big won’t sustain success unless there’s equal emphasis on measuring performance. In RGHPO (“Rapid Growth High Performance Organizations”), tracking daily performance is critical. Checking your progress against a documented blueprint has to become a daily habit, like an athlete’s training routine, or it will get lost in the shuffle.

Communication is key to meeting any goal, especially those as people- focused as ours. I make sure that everyone, from senior leadership to the newest new hire, knows that their personal goals and driving purpose should align with and maximize our corporate mission to help improve people’s lives through the use of technology. When your goals and purpose are clearly communicated, it becomes part of your culture, and you’re more likely to succeed.


Alessandra Lezama has led transformational changes as CEO of three previous companies. Since joining AbacusNext in 2013, she has propelled the business from an on-prem software company to a fully integrated legal technology suite.

Software Executive magazine