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How the Grammarly Team Stays Focused on Their Goals

Updated on May 14, 2020Company

We’re a month into the new year, and you need a goal-keeping pick-me-up.

For some tips to stay invigorated on our goals, we asked two of our biggest goal-setters: Ellie Lupo, our recruiting coordinator, and Staci Heinrich, our events coordinator. We asked them to tell us about how they measure their goals, and how they keep going when the going gets tough.

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How they measure their goals

Like many professionals, Lupo and Heinrich both have aggressive goals to reach every quarter and every year. 

Lupo, who’s on a team that’s growing fast in order to hire dozens of new employees, has a lot on her plate. She uses a fun twist on a percentage system to track her progress toward her goals. 

At the end of each quarter, my manager and I review my goals together and evaluate them using an emoji system. A red x ( ❌) indicates that I missed the goal, a neutral face ( 😐) indicates that I accomplished about 80% of the goal, a green heart ( 💚) means I hit the target and accomplished 100% of the goal, and a rocket ship ( 🚀) means I far exceeded expectations and hit 120% of the goal.”

Heinrich, who’s in charge of the company’s events, including large-scale, cross-continent off-sites, also routinely sets ambitious goals for herself. Her technique is a little simpler: “I like keeping a simple record to track my goals. Writing things down as they happen helps me see how far I’ve come or evaluate what went wrong when I see a drop in my progress.” 

How they split up larger goals

In making goals for the month, quarter or year, it’s easy to generalize. Goals for your team or company, like “increase headcount by 30%” or “increase brand awareness” can feel amorphous, and as an employee, it can be hard to see what exactly your place is in these goals.  

At Grammarly, company goals are contextualized at the team and individual levels. At each level, the company, team, and team members have their own OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). This means each person has a couple of stretch goals (objectives) and a handful of smaller, measurable goals that ladder up to the larger ones.

These goals manifest differently for each Grammarly employee. Heinrich sees these tasks and subtasks as an opportunity: “I love checking items off my to-do list, and having more, smaller tasks allows me more opportunities to celebrate the little wins.” For example, a big event’s success is made much more fun when you’ve also gotten to celebrate a budget getting approved, a venue being booked, or an activity being agreed upon. 

Lupo is all about self-discipline. 

“To make goals less daunting, I like to self-impose deadlines and then hold myself accountable to accomplishing each task on time. Breaking goals into more manageable chunks helps me stay organized and productive.” If, like Ellie, you have a goal to conduct interview training for new employee interviewers, you could break that up into steps with hard deadlines, like the first draft of a presentation, the first round of feedback for stakeholders, and the second round of the presentation. 

How they stay motivated when they get discouraged

Everyone can feel a little overwhelmed when trying to get all their goals accomplished. It’s important to have some ways to get out of that funk and remember how capable you are when these times arise.

“I take time to appreciate something in life, even if it’s something unrelated to work,” says Heinrich. “It helps me think more positively instead of dwelling on the negative.”

Lupo likes to keep the focus on her career: “When things get tough, I step back and reflect on my long-term career goals and my overall contributions to the team and company. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day frustrations, so it’s helpful to remember why I’m doing certain things and how my efforts will pay off down the line. Also, I eat a lot of chocolate.”

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