Management Strategy

OKR — A Goal-Setting Framework For Thinking Big

By: | Lakshmi Nanduri

Publish Date: February 21, 2020

If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enoughMario Andretti

Objectives and Key Results (OKR), a popular management strategy is a goal-setting framework that helps organizations define goals or objectives and then track the outcome. OKRs are framed with a key purpose to connect the organization, team, and personal goals to measurable results, having all the team members and leaders work together in one, unified direction. Objectives and Key Results are typically implemented within specialized OKR software and help establish far-reaching goals in days instead of months.

Brief History of OKR
Objectives and Key Results have been around since the 1970s, and the concept was created by Andy Grove, but popularized by John Doerr, one of the earliest investors in Google. OKR quickly became an important focus for Google, and organizations such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Dropbox, Spotify, Airbnb, and Uber have since followed suit. A large part of OKRs is making sure everyone knows what’s expected of them at work, moves towards the same goals, and are aware of what others are working on.
John Doerr’s Objectives and Key Results formula is to set an objective, which is around questions like
“What do I want to have accomplished and the key results” and “How am I going to get it done?”
Objectives and Key Results are not about just the goal you want to achieve. It must also include a way to measure achievement. Objectives and Key Results give the strong benefits of productivity, focus, and company culture. They are to be typically established by leadership and should never be tied into compensation or performance reviews.
How to use OKRs
Objectives and Key Results usually contain three to five high-level objectives, with another three to five key measurable results for each objective. Even for the most prominent organizations, it is safer to have no more than five Objectives and Key Results at one time. For smaller teams and organizations, it is better to keep it to three.
After establishing the objectives, track the progress of each key result individually and reference them. Encourage the team to set ambitious goals. Objectives and Key Results can be effective and ensure that organizational objectives cascade in transparent, accountable, and measurable ways. It is equally important to emphasize that the outcome of OKRs won’t negatively impact performance reviews, compensation, or job security.
Defining good Objectives and Key Results
Objectives and Key Results are meant to be flexible, which means they can adjust with priorities. Once the OKRs are established, and employees feel confident of hitting the Key Results, and then increase the target by upwards of 30 percent. If there is the confidence of achieving the KR targets that mean sights are high enough. Every month OKRs should be evaluated to make sure everything is moving along. Predict the end-of-quarter score for each Key Result to judge how it’s tracking, to catch any problems, or to adjust priorities if necessary. Average the score for all Key Results and that is the overall score for that specific objective.
Not Goal Setting, but Goal Realization is the GAME!  Some best practices include –OKR best practices
Objectives and Key Results are used for both individual and team goal-setting to help knowledge workers prioritize work in fast-paced environments. The following is a useful check-list for setting Objectives and Key Results:

  • Put the customer first.
  • Don’t skimp on ambition.
  • Tie Objectives and Key Results to broader organizational goals.
  • Just enough Objectives and Key Results are enough.
  • Once defined, communicate the Objectives and Key Results to everyone.
  • If you can’t measure it, it’s not an appropriate Key Result.
  • Key Results are outcomes, not tasks.
  • As people start working, result indicators will be updated regularly, preferably weekly. An objective is considered done when 70-75% of its results are achieved. If 100% of the results of the objectives get done, it may not be ambitious enough.
  • Review the Objectives and Key Results regularly, as needed, and be flexible. If the organization, team, or personal goals change, feel free to change the Objectives and Key Results as well.
  • When the Objectives and Key Results are complete, they need to be evaluated to assess what worked and what is required to change in the future.
  • Check if the objectives were ambitious enough, key results were measurable, any Objectives and Key Results were ignored, and if they remain aligned with the business strategy and the organization.
  • Establish what was learned and how to apply that to the next Objectives and Key Results.

When set up and used regularly, Objectives and Key Results are simple to use and do not take much time to implement. Often, it takes just a few hours to check and review your Objectives and Key Results, although they have to be checked a little more regularly to keep up with progress and indicate the said progress weekly. Objectives and Key Results can help businesses stay on track in a fast-paced, ever-changing industry, while still encouraging innovation.

  1. Want To Set Goals Like Google? Use OKRs

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