OKR is a goal-setting framework that helps companies focus on what matters most. Learn how Google, Allbirds, Apartment Therapy, and other inspiring organizations use this framework to drive business impact.
Ensure employees are engaged with the OKR process by hosting OKR workshops and holding regular team and enterprise check ins. This includes making sure OKRs are embedded into weekly operating rhythms and schedules.
1. Focus on Key Results
One of the biggest challenges many business leaders face is getting their team members on the same page regarding goals and tasks. Using OKR can help boost productivity by keeping everyone focused and accountable for their work.
Objectives describe ambitious, measurable goals that will move the company forward, and key results are the benchmarks for measuring progress toward these objectives. Defining these milestones is an important step in implementing this framework.
When setting departmental, group or team goals, be sure to include a key result owner for each objective. This is a person who will be responsible for tracking and reporting on the key results. Key results should be measurable and verifiable, time-based, and relevant to the objective. Breaking down bigger objectives into these smaller milestones is what makes OKR so effective.
2. Be Specific
When you come up with your objectives and key results, you need to be specific and measurable. This will help your team stay on track and ensure everyone understands the purpose of each objective and how it fits into the larger framework.
Ensure that your objectives are aligned with the organization’s goals, mission, and vision. You can use these objectives to identify if an OKR is committed or aspirational and to make adjustments over time.
Your Objectives can be directional and inspirational, and your Key Results should push you beyond the status quo to create something that doesn’t exist (build), improve on something that exists (improve), or completely rethink how we do things (innovate). This is what makes OKR so effective and powerful. Andy Grove pioneered this management technique at Intel and taught it to John Doerr, the famous Silicon Valley investor.
3. Be Time-Bound
OKR is a goal system that creates alignment and engagement across the organization with measurable goals that are regularly set, tracked, and re-evaluated – usually quarterly. The key component to success is that individual OKRs should ladder up into team and company goals – this is known as “the OKR cascade”.
Objectives describe qualitative goals geared towards propelling the business forward while Key Results delve into numbers and metrics, much like a KPI. Both the objective and the key result should be inspiring, ambitious, and directional.
To be truly effective, however, the objectives should stretch teams by pushing them outside their comfort zone – this is what helps to grow the company and inspire people. To achieve this, the objectives should be time-bound – what can be achieved in a six weeks, month, week, day?
4. Be Flexible
OKR is an approach to goal-setting that allows flexible organizations to align teams around high-impact objectives and measurable key results. This helps to create a collaborative environment, where team members can run after the change that they want to see in their business and contribute to the bigger picture.
The most important thing is that you and your team agree on a set of committed OKRs that you know your company can achieve within the timeframe. Then you can use the key results to make sure that people are doing what they need to do.
Weekly OKR check-ins also allow everyone to learn from their past results (last week) and make improvements as needed. They also help to keep your OKRs in line with the company strategy.
5. Be Aligned
When employees have a clear understanding of the company’s objectives, they will be able to prioritize their tasks and take ownership for achieving them. During weekly OKR check-in meetings, team leaders and members should talk about their Objectives and Key Results to ensure they are on track.
To build alignment, it’s crucial that top company OKRs are aligned with departmental and team OKRs and that those are linked to Strategic Pillars. In Perdoo, the Aligned Objectives tab shows a visual overview of how all objectives are connected to each other and whether they are aligned with strategy.
One of the biggest superpowers of OKR is its ability to provide a sense of purpose for everyone in the organization. Its transparency fosters affinity and helps teams understand how their work contributes to the company’s goals.