“There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little.” Andy Grove
Objectives and Key results (OKR) is a critical thinking framework and a goal setting system designed to help organizations create value through focus, alignment, autonomy, accountability, empowerment and transparent communication.
To reinforce these characteristics, I would like to mention Henrik Kniberg’s work. He emphasizes the need to work on autonomy and alignment as two fundamental dimensions in order to achieve a more productive work environment. For a more in-depth understanding of how alignment links with autonomy check out this video.
Returning to the topic at hand, the OKR framework plays a crucial role in achieving an organization’s purpose and vision. They provide the link between a company’s objectives and day-to-day activities. Moreover, before starting with OKRs it is essential for you/ your team or company to define your WHY. It is a sense of purpose to inspire people, in order to act.
What is OKR and how does it work?
Objectives and Key performance results (OKR)s are about: setting out what you want to achieve (objectives) and how you get to the objectives (key results).
In other words, the objective is the direction, something you want to achieve. This is your “What”. The key results are metrics or indicators that reflect the achievement of the objective. This is your “How”. Key Results are measurable, verifiable, quantitative, make the objective achievable, are difficult but not impossible.
How do OKRs work?
The management team establishes the strategic OKRs, then the OKRs are presented to all employees so they can write their tactical OKRs. Each team must answer two questions: how can we contribute to the strategic OKRs and which of the key results included in the strategic objectives can we impact.
To ensure transparency in the process, all OKRs should be published and should be readily available to everyone in the organization.
It is very important to establish time periods that allow for deadlines in order to meet the objectives. OKRs work optimally when the year is divided into four parts and they are set quarterly. This allows you to focus on what is a priority and establish a basis for immediate feedback, which is another advantage regarding this general objective-setting system.
What is the history behind the OKR methodology?
The concept was created by Andy Grove, during his time working for intel as the CEO in the 1970s. He improved the MBO (management by objectives) model. Afterwards John Doerr joined Intel where he learned this methodology. He later presented it to the founders of Google in 1999. Subsequently, in 2000 Google started using OKRs. This methodology helped Google with its explosive growth and it became the company it is today. In 2017 Doerr published his book “Measure What Matters” where he explains how any company, team and/or individual can thrive using this powerful methodology.
Today, companies such as Google, AOL, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Oracle, Slack, Spotify, Twitter, BMW, Disney and many more around the world use this methodology to grow, improve and achieve their goals especially in today’s uncertain, volatile, agile and complex market conditions.
How can OKR help your business?
John Doerr says the OKR framework has four superpowers that your company can leverage:
- Focus on priorities and concentrate on the important
- Alignment on common teams goals
- Transparency and accountability
- Tracking progress in OKR with team’s weekly feedback meetings
Key objectives and results are a powerful force with proven effectiveness in achieving excellence.
What are the main benefits of OKRs?
Here are 9 benefits of working with this powerful methodology:
If you are interested in this topic and you want to implement it in your company, team or at a personal level, Euro Business Coach can help you in this great challenge. Book a free intake session now.