Before you answer yourself if OKRs should cascade or align within an organization, let us understand this.
Companies venturing on their first OKR rollout want to ensure every goal cascades through the organization. For example, C-level executives have their objectives (Os), key results (KRs), and the company’s objectives also become their KRs. Next-level leaders have their objectives and key results, and then the KRs of C-level executives become their KRs.
But this cascading disables companies from hitting their goals, even if they are set. Instead of bringing alignment throughout the organization, there is growing discontent, and teams fail to align. Cascaded goals are, indeed, the worst system for goal-setting.
Pro tip: Allow your teams to set their own goals and let them align those goals to the organizational objectives. Remember, teams, grow when they have the freedom to ensure their work matters to their organization. If you move beyond tightly cascading goals, it doesn’t mean you have to forego alignment. Instead, it implies confiding in your teams to use their strong cases to further the company’s mission. The goals your teams set should push them and the company forward.