OKR is a goal-setting framework that helps teams define and track measurable goals. It’s a lightweight approach to creating transparent, aligned, and high-performance business operations.
Objectives must be ambitious, yet manageable. Each objective is followed by one or more key results that are measurable and time-bound (e.g., drive 1 million web visitors or ensure 100% of product materials are compostable). A routine grading system based on the cadence of quarters allows teams to monitor progress.
Visualize Your Goals
The best OKRs are clear and specific. Doerr recommends sticking to one objective and three to five key results for each. Adding too many goals can confuse teams and reduce focus.
OKRs should also be inspiring and motivating. They should be ambitious, challenging, and engaging for teams at all levels. They can even be informal and playful, using slang or internal jokes to align with company culture.
To create an OKR, start with the overarching organizational goal(s) and then break them down into department, team, and individual objectives. Then, make sure your key results are measurable and action-oriented. Lastly, be transparent about how your OKRs relate to other goals and objectives in the company. This ensures everyone is on the same page. This is how teams work together and achieve the most success.
Set SMART Goals
The goal of OKR is to help your teams understand what value their work is contributing to the company, and a good way to do this is through setting SMART goals. The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.
The first step is to write your objectives, which are the destinations for your key results. Your objective should be clear and attainable, such as “I will train to run the San Diego half marathon in less than two hours” or “I will increase my blog’s email traffic by 20%”.
Then set your key results, which are the actions you’ll take to achieve your objectives. These should be measurable (such as “train for the marathon” or “increase traffic from emails”) and realistic (like “training to finish the race”). The last step is to set your timeline, which may be quarterly.
OKRs are about setting measurable goals for your team that you can track over time. They should be ambitious and inspirational and align all teams with the company vision.
The Objective is the broad goal that everyone in the company should be working towards, and the Key Results are the milestones that will indicate if you’ve achieved your objective. Each goal should be clear and concise, and the Key Results should explain how you’ll know if your objective is successful.
The OKR framework encourages teams to set aspirational goals that challenge the status quo and push them to think outside of the box. However, it’s important to balance these aspirational goals with committed OKRs that are feasible for the team to achieve at the end of the period.
When developing your OKRs, consider how much time it will reasonably take to achieve each key result. This will help keep your team on track and avoid wasting resources.
The first part of an OKR is the objective, which is a qualitative description of what you want to accomplish, like “increase traffic by 10%” or “launch product X successfully.” The key result is the specific metric that will determine whether your objective was met.
OKR is a goal-setting methodology that is used by many of the top performing companies. Learn more about this powerful tool in John Doerr’s book Measure What Matters, or get started with this free OKR template. With the right strategy, OKR can transform your team’s productivity and performance. Click the button below to download your free OKR template today!
Whether you’re a business owner or an individual, goal-setting can feel daunting and overwhelming. However, using a framework like OKR can transform huge financial goals into attainable mini-goals that you can reevaluate on a regular basis.
The key to setting measurable OKRs is that your objective should inspire action, while your key results should measure progress toward it. These should be measurable, not subjective, and they should be easy to understand.
OKRs are a way to align employee goals with company strategy and were first introduced by Andy Grove at Intel and then popularized by John Doerr in his book, Measure What Matters. The framework has been used by companies including Google to increase accountability and drive strategy alignment. In addition, OKRs help to break down the siloes that can arise within an organization.