Watch out for damaging cascades of work, goals, etc.
What do they look like?
As we go "down" the damaging cascade, things get....
More prescriptive, more specific
More action/task/activity focused
Less flexible, less creative
Less room to maneuver
More likely to have a fixed start and endpoint
Further from business context
Further from customer context
More input focused (less output focused)
More time-bound (e.g. managed to timeline)
How do you fix this?
Models like the North Star Framework are not cascades. Why? There is no hierarchal relationship between the North Star Metric and the Inputs. Yes there is a presumed leading/lagging relationship, and a positive causative relationship. But there is no top-down, "OK, here's the strategy, what projects will you do". In fact, the North Star Metric is not immediately actionable. That is by design. Teams do work to impact the the Inputs, however.
In workshops I use an example of plant growth…
And growing a healthy garden…
Yes, there is a relationship between water and plant growth, but it isn't a cascading relationship. We can also set time-based goals (like OKRs), and the goals map “the work” to our inputs.
The next time you see a cascade in action, try to:
Reduce the number of levels. Flatten it
Change the nature of the relationships (instead of "this project at L3 supports L2" think “this signal at L3 is a leading indicator of L2”
Make sure teams can access customers and have business context
Consider other types of relationships/models.
Hope this helps!