10th February 2022

OKRs. Objectives and Key Results.

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Our mission is to continually improve. Improve our services, improve our impact, improve our culture. OKRs will allow us  to set and achieve audacious goals—through inspiration, education, and application.

OKRs are effective goal-setting and leadership tools for communicating what we want to accomplish and what milestones we’ll need to meet in order to accomplish them. 

They are a collaborative goal-setting methodology used to set challenging, ambitious goals with measurable results. 

Adopting these to team Creode we can better track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around unified and measurable goals.

They can also work for personal goals and can even be used by individuals to get things done at places where senior leadership doesn’t use them.

OKRs 101!

OKRs are typically written with an Objective at the top and 3 to 5 supporting Key Results below it. They can also be written as a statement: I will (Objective) as measured by (Key Results).

OKR graphic

Objectives

An Objective is simply what is to be achieved, no more and no less. 

By definition, Objectives are significant, concrete, action-oriented, and (ideally) inspirational. When properly designed and deployed, they’re a vaccine against fuzzy thinking and ineffective execution.

Key Results

Key Results benchmark and monitor how we get to the Objective. 

Effective KRs are specific and time-bound; aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, they are measurable and verifiable. You either meet a key result’s requirements or you don’t; there is no grey area. 

At the end of the designated period, typically a quarter, we do a regular check and grade the key results as fulfilled or not.

OKR workflow

The benefits of the OKR goal-setting process are apparent given the roster of companies that use them: Adobe, Google, and Netflix have all implemented OKRs to astounding success. 

The objective and key results model is a powerful way to express the goals of our company. It has helped us craft our mission and vision, aid in employee engagement, and bring to the surface the top priorities of our company.

John Doerr says there are five key OKR benefits, we can say that OKRs give us “just the F.A.C.T.S.”

John Doerr

Focus

Focus – you are limited in the number of them. There can be more than one objective, but always less than seven. Fewer is better. Every objective should fit on one line. 

As for key results, you should have no more than five per objective. Because of this inherent necessity to limit the number of things to focus on, OKRs really force upfront choice-making. 

An OKR cycle should start with the question, What is most important for the next three (or six, or twelve) months? This time-bound query sets OKRs apart from other goal-setting systems because they bring to the surface a handful of initiatives that can make a real, immediate difference while deferring less urgent ones. 

Alignment

Once top-line objectives are set is when the real work begins. As they shift from planning OKRs to execution, managers, and contributors alike tie their day-to-day activities to the organisation’s company-wide vision. The term for this linkage is alignment, and its value cannot be overstated. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, companies with highly-aligned employees are more than twice as likely to be top performers.

Commitment 

Commitments are OKRs that all have agreed will be achieved, and schedules and resources will be adjusted to ensure that they are delivered. 

Tracking these commitments is done transparently. Each team member must create very clear signals for everyone that they are working towards their OKRs. 

Sharing OKR progress every single month, printing them out and posting them all over the office walls, you know what you’re striving for and if you’re hitting it or not.

Tracking

Every OKR should be able to be tracked via the metrics established when they were written. 

And while OKRs don’t require daily tracking, regular check-ups—preferably weekly—are essential to prevent slippage. 

Having these reference points to grade your current OKRs is the long term magic of them on the individual level. Are you on track to meet this objective or not? Why or why not?

Stretching

“Stretching” is last but not least. As John Doerr says, “Larry Page of Google is the high priest of 10x-ing everything, stretching further. He’ll say, ‘I’d rather have the objective be to go to Mars, and if we fall short, we’ll get to the moon. This is how you make moonshots.’” 

OKRs inherently push organisations to strive further, to eke out a little more than what they thought was possible.